EU – Moldova: cooperation news, September - October 2021

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NEWSLETTER OF THE DELEGATION OF THE EUROPEAN UNION TO THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

EU – MOLDOVA: COOPERATION NEWS SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2021


TABLE OF CONTENT

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MOBILITY AND PEOPLE

One year of Europe Café

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EU4Youth: autumn inspires the participants of the „School Garden” project

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European Week of Sport: #BeActive, adopt a healthy lifestyle

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Three new sports grounds in Camenca and Sanatauca villages – modernised with the EU support

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Assessment of youth needs in career guidance, entrepreneurial skills and personal development, with EU support

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European Transport Week 2021

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The results of the Local Grants Programme of the European Union „Be the change: engaged citizens - sustainable communities”

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10 renovated laboratories were inaugurated at the Technical University of Moldova with EU support

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Local NGOs and media - promoters of public services in the regions

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EU supports the Partnerships for Women Leadership and Good Governance

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Sharing of EU best practices: Raisa Buga promotes gender equality in her village

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Production and broadcasting of new 2D animated series for children with the support of the European Union “Confidence Building Measures” programme

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“Liberă”, an educational documentary play performed in Ungheni and Cahul as part of EU project on strengthening Gender Action

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“Gender Equality through the lens of the camera” photography Boot Camp in Ungheni and Cahul, with EU support

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EU support for Moldovan civil society: strengthening oforganisational efficiency and capacity development

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2nd Annual Forum on budgetary participation: opportunities and challenges related to ensuring budgetary participation at local level

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The first Virtual Fair of Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education Projects

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Members of the Coalition for Inclusion and Non-discrimination urge Moldovan authorities to improve the legislation on equality and non-discrimination

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INSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNMENT

EU Border Assistance Mission: on guard against illicit cigarette trade

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With EU support, the Border Police was equipped with two air-cushion vehicles for improving the surveillance of the Moldova-Ukraine blue border

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Best European practices for strengthening cross-border information exchange

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Role of patent system in dealing with public health challenges discussed within a regional event

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Financial Analysis and Risk Assessment course organised with EU support

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Strengthening the role of Moldovan Parliament in the association process with the European Union The new data protection law in line with European standards provides transparent rules benefitting the citizens

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EU High Level Advisers’ Mission: progress discussed during the project’s Steering Committee meeting

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Operational State aid control system in line with EU standards - a tool for healthy economic development

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EU offers continuous technical assistance to support the National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova

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EU support to the Moldovan Agency for Land Relations and Cadastre: results and next steps

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ECONOMY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Results for 2020: increase of Moldovan exports of fruits, vegetable oils and wine to EU countries

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EaP COVID-19 Solidarity Programme: pandemic restrictions turned into opportunities for entrepreneurs

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EU supports the modernisation of rural localities of the Republic of Moldova

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EU support for LAGs initiatives: opening of „rural house” for tourists in Cobani village

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EU support for LAGs initiatives: farmer from Ocniţa returned home and developed a business

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EU Confidence-Building Measures programme: Four new tourist routes could connect both banks of the Nistru river

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EU for Rural Moldova information campaign: success stories and achievements supported by the European Union

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EU launches new ‘Mayors for Economic Growth Facility’ in the Republic of Moldova EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line: support for pastry maker in Moldova

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EU, EBRD and Sweden support Moldova’s first blueberry producer

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Grants offered by the European Union for social entrepreneurship initiatives

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European Union and its bank, EIB, help beekeeping sector become more profitable in the Republic of Moldova

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EU expertise for the improvement of the walnut sector of the Republic of Moldova

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EU Fruit Garden project supports investments in modern agriculture

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EU4Business: investment loan of 28 million EUR through EIB guarantee fund for Moldovan local entrepreneurs

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Dorina Tataru, a 22-year-old entrepreneur from Pitușca, started a farming business with support from the European Union

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Advantageous loans worth over 12.6 million EUR provided by EU through its bank, EIB, for Moldovan horticulturists since the beginning of 2021

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Fruit Garden credit line: up to 60 million EUR made available for Moldovan SMEs

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Fruit Garden project: vineyard technologies in Căinari will triple harvest in the coming years

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Fruit Garden project: Agricultural business developed in the village of Baurci Moldoveni

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Fruit Garden project: the success story of a family farming business in Edinet

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Fruit Garden project: agri-tourism pension in the heart of the “Codri” reserve

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Fruit Garden project: modern irrigation system in Hagimus, Causeni rayon

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EU support to Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Safety in the Republic of Moldova – progress results

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EU4Moldova Focal regions programme: modern equipment for an authentic blacksmithing company in Cahul, a beneficiary of EU support

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Toys of natural textiles are manufactured in Ungheni, with the financial support of the European Union through EU4Moldova: Focal regions programme

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ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT

European Climate Diplomacy and European Sustainable Energy Week 2021 – marked in the Republic of Moldova

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EU4Environemnt: Inter-ministerial dialogue on Green Economy organised in the Republic of Moldova

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The first Centre of Excellence in energy efficiency was inaugurated in Feșteliţa with the support of the European Union

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With the support of the European Union, about 37,000 citizens from Falesti and Drochia benefit from improved water supply services

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Launch of Green Growth Indicators (GGIs) in the Republic of Moldova

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Waste management and circular economy are promoted in the Republic of Moldova with EU support

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Citizens of eight localities from the South region of Moldova collect the waste more organised

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EU and UNDP support alignment of climate and energy greenhouse gas reduction targets

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EU High Level Adviser on Energy, Alexandru Săndulescu, awarded with the Medal Cross „For Merit” of the First Degree of the National Agency for Energy Regulation (ANRE)

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RESILIENT DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul encourages young people in the region to 124 engage in technology entrepreneurship Development of young women business skills with the support of the 125 European Union High-performance laptops and diplomas of excellence were awarded to 126 teachers in the south of the country Young people in Cahul are studying technology entrepreneurship to develop 127 business ideas Harnessing digital opportunities to build back better: Digital Conference for 128 the Eastern Partnership tackles key challenges for the coming decade EU funded project “Edinet – insights into tomorrow cities” brings best 130 experiences for the municipality’s development Partnering together for the digital transformation: digital achievements and 131 priorities in focus for the Eastern Partnership EU Code Week: hundreds of students and teachers have explored digital skills

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EU4Digital: “Building on the success of eDelivery solution pilots”, new Moldova 135 – Ukraine pilot project to be launched in December 2021 EaPConnect launches new ‘spectrum’ link connecting Moldovan and Ukrainian 136 research and education communities with pan-European network “Ignite Cahul: Izestre”: 9 notable personalities inspired young people and 139 entrepreneurs in the south of the country “EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul” – an example of success discussed by guests 140 of “Moldova ICT Summit 2021: The Future of Digital” 1st anniversary of EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul: IT development opportunities 141 for residents of the south region of the country

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ANNOUNCEMENTS. SAVE THE DATE – PLANNED EVENTS

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. Regional Competition for journalists, vloggers, 142 and bloggers in Moldova and Ukraine

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MOBILITY AND PEOPLE ONE YEAR OF EUROPE CAFÉ The main European Union Information Centre celebrated its first anniversary. We marked one year of Europe Café, one year of meetings and discussions, events and people, a year since we have been together.

Despite the pandemic, Europe Café hosted over 150 events with the participation of over 1100 participants in 2020, who followed the safety and prevention measures.

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Europe Café is the place that brings you closer to the European Union. In one year, this centre of architectural value has opened its doors to Ambassadors and representatives of the Member States of the European Union, members of the European Parliament and Commission, journalists and representatives of civil society, but also to all those who want to embrace the European values and culture. At Europe Café you can find out more about the opportunities offered by the European Union, the relations between the EU and the Republic of Moldova, about the traditions and culture of its Member States. During these twelve months of intense activity, Europe Café has become an innovative hub for events and meetings, all focused on raising awareness about European Union values and the support provided to the citizens of the Republic of Moldova. Many other events are still waiting for you. Workshops and webinars, EU Talks, Young European Ambassadors initiatives, cultural

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“We warmly invite all who are interested to learn more about the European Union, its culture and history, as well as the opportunities provided by EU and Team Europe support to visit the Europe Café. We urge all the visitors to respect COVID safety measures. I trust that we can stay resilient and safe together during these challenging times and we hope that in the near future Europe Café could welcome more and more people interested in the work of the European Union in this country”, the EU Ambassador Jānis Mažeiks mentioned. events organised in collaboration with the embassies of the EU Member States will be hosted by Europe Café. Stay close and get connected to our initiatives. We will continue to offer you the most interesting information and activities. Visit our web platform: europecafe.md.

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EU4YOUTH: AUTUMN INSPIRES THE PARTICIPANTS OF THE „SCHOOL GARDEN” PROJECT „Autumn counts buds” says a Moldovan proverb, which, is the motto of the participants involved in „School Garden” project implemented with the support of the European Union, through the EU4Youth programme, and co-financed by the International Green Cross during 2018-2022.

The students, involved in the project, worked for a whole year to get a rich and healthy crop and had the opportunity to exhibit and even market their agricultural production at fairs and ecological festivals organised in September and October. Thus, at the two big fairs - IarmarEco and Autumn of Potato 2021 - students and local coordinators from Oxentea Gymnasium, Dubasari rayon, Centre of Excellence in Horticulture and Agricultural Technologies

from Taul, Donduseni rayon, “Dumitru Matcovschi” Gymnasium from Vadul lui Rascov, Soldanesti rayon and the „Grigore Vieru” Primary School from Stefan Voda offered the buyers fruits, vegetables, flowers and teas from medicinal plants, which they cultivated and packaged themselves. The Cucurbitaceae Festival took place in Țaul, where for 4 days those interested could visit an open-air exhibition of fruit and vegetable sculptures. They also had

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the opportunity to taste various varieties of melons and pumpkins, as well as visit the greenhouses where they are grown. An original exhibition was organised by the students of Rascaietii Noi Gymnasium, Stefan Voda rayon. Guided by their teachers and parents, the children made compositions

from fruits, vegetables, seeds and flowers, all grown in the School Garden, the exhibition being properly named an event „Made in Moldova”. At the same time, traditional Moldovan meals prepared from pumpkin and beetroot were presented.

The agricultural products obtained within the eight educational institutions involved in the “School Garden” project are used in the menus of school canteens. Therefore, thanks to the support of the European Union, students have a healthy diet, obtained through ecological methods. Project implementation partners are the National Environmental Centre of Moldova, the Green Cross of Belarus, the Green Cross of Ukraine, the John Paul II Foundation, Italy.

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EUROPEAN WEEK OF SPORT: #BEACTIVE, ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE The seventh edition of the European Week of Sport #BeActive promoted the movement as entertainment and improvement of physical and mental health. The new edition of #BeActive highlighted the power of physical activity to bring joy, build resilience and

connect generations. More than 40 countries from the European Union and neighbourhood countries joined the initiative and offered physical activities to their citizens between 23-30 September 2021.

Launched in 2015, the European Week of Sport was created in response to the worsening inactivity crisis. Despite sport and physical activity substantially contributing to the well-being of European citizens, the level of physical activity is currently stagnating and even declining in some countries. This is why the European Week of Sport exists – to bring awareness of how important an active lifestyle is for everyone. Regardless of who we are and what we do, even slight increases in regular, physical activity can have a profound impact on our long-term health.

The European Union Information Centres and Euro Clubs across the country joined the European Week of Sport. Their members joined the initiative and urged the people from their localities to adopt an active lifestyle. Football, volleyball and cycling matches engaged over 150 children from various regions of the country. For six years, the European Week of Sport has helped tackle the inactivity crisis by encouraging Europeans to embrace a healthy and active lifestyle. The week is designed to give people across the world a springboard into being active.

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The European Week of Sport provided over three thousand events in the countries of the European Union in 2020, which were attended by over 30 million people. The number of those involved in the activities dedicated to the European Week of Sport is increasing every year. You can be part of this initiative too. Get connected and be active!!!

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THREE NEW SPORTS GROUNDS IN CAMENCA AND SANATAUCA VILLAGES – MODERNISED WITH THE EU SUPPORT

In the spring of 2019, in response to the Call for Applications for the „Confidence Building Measures” Programme of the EU, two communities, Camenca (on the left bank of Nistru River) and Sanatauca (on the right bank) decided to apply jointly

An important and major area in implementation of the project is represented by joint sports events. The implementation of the project will benefit over 3,000 children, 2,800 men and women, 4,700 retired persons, including 971 people with disabilities, who will all be able to use the sports grounds. The repair of the 3 sports grounds will provide better conditions for social and cultural activities

for financial support for modernization of the sports grounds in their communities. The project proposal application, which unites the 2 communities, Camenca and Sanatauca, was selected for funding from over 150 applicants.

to the people on both banks of the Nistru River. These investments will directly contribute to sustaining and strengthening trust between the Camenca and Sanatauca communities. The project is sustainable, as it aims to last for decades. Next generations of the communities will be able to use it too.

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The project will also support operation and development. The local budget will allocate funds for the conservation and reconstruction of the sports grounds and for carrying out sport events.

The concept of this project is replicable in other communities. The reconstruction of sports grounds was carried out with the support of the EU Programme „Confidence Building Measures”, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP.

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ASSESSMENT OF YOUTH NEEDS IN CAREER GUIDANCE, ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, WITH EU SUPPORT Over 1,000 teenagers from 25 schools in the districts of Soroca, Călărași, Nisporeni, Strășeni and Căușeni participated, during September, in a Participatory Action Research to assess their needs for career guidance, entrepreneurial skills and personal development. Responsible for interviewing and data collecting were 25 young people from those 25 schools, supported by partner teachers in „JOBOTECA - pilot programme for preparing young people in the Republic

of Moldova for the labour market” project. The 25 young people previously participated in a training on data collection and organising focus groups and they put the new knowledge into practice as the school year started. Thus, with the support of allied teachers, the young researchers organised in their schools over 70 interviews and almost 30 focus groups, collecting more than 1,000 questionnaires.

“The student from our school who participated in the training was sceptical at the beginning and was not motivated to participate, but after the three days training and interaction with other young people and trainers, she returned very excited. She said the experience helped her to open up and she expressed her desire to participate in the following events too,” said Tatiana Sandu, the allied teacher from „Mihai Eminescu” High School, Sipoteni village. Following the analysis of the collected data, Terre des hommes Moldova will develop and adjust the JOBOTECA programme according to the needs expressed by young people. „JOBOTECA - pilot programme for preparing young people in Moldova for the labour market” project is implemented by Terre des hommes Foundation, Romania office and Moldova office, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Moldova, during February 2021 - January 2024. The project has a total value of 1,110,396 EUR and is 90% co-financed by the European Union.

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EUROPEAN TRANSPORT WEEK 2021

In 2021, the European Transport Week was organised between 17-22 September in Lublin, Poland. The motto of 2021 edition was “Safe and healthy with sustainable mobility” aiming to promote alternative forms of eco-friendly transport. The 2021 celebration of the European Mobility Week was carried out under the EU-co-funded project “MOVE IT like Lublin - a Chisinau public transport sustainable development initiative.” The event was officially opened by Mr. Krzysztof Żuk, Mayor of the City of Lublin, Mr. Grzegorz Malec, Director of the Public Transport Authority in Lublin and Mr. Octavian Lungu, Project Manager of „MOVE IT like Lublin”. Mr. Lungu remarked in his speech that the project for the modernisation of public transport in Chisinau is carried out with the financial support of the European Union, but also due to the openness of the Lublin partner, for which he thanked local public authorities. “Lublin is an example to follow, in the sense of the changes produced in recent years, but also a model of inspiration. This visit represents a first step in the process of transferring good European practices to Chisinau, in the field of urban mobility.” said Octavian Lungu.

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THE RESULTS OF THE LOCAL GRANTS PROGRAMME OF THE EUROPEAN UNION „BE THE CHANGE: ENGAGED CITIZENS - SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES” The results of the 28 local grant projects implemented between August 2020 and September 2021 in the Centre Development Region of the country, were highlighted during the final conference of the local grants programme, that took place in Chisinau on 21

October 2021. Along with representatives of non-governmental organisations, the event was also attended by the representatives of the Delegation of the European Union and of the German Development Cooperation through GIZ.

„Since 2019, the German Development Cooperation through GIZ has taken over this great responsibility to initiate and implement a programme, which is the most difficult, but also the most sustainable, it is about empowering citizens, to involve citizens, to invest in citizens, so that they change their attitude and behaviour in relation with some major problems, which are not only local but also global: climate change, waste management, local services, etc.,” mentioned Valentina Plesca, Head of the Citizen empowerment and capacity development unit, GIZ.

The most important results of the programme were mentioned by Ala Revenco, Programme director within AGER: “28 projects were implemented in 12 districts through which: • about 11,000 citizens were informed about environmental issues and local public services; • over 600 citizens participated in the planning of local public services; • about 90 representatives of the local public authorities were trained on the participatory approach of local public services; • more than 50,000 inhabitants from 13 localities gained access to an improved solid waste management infrastructure.” During the conference, the grant beneficiary-organisations also shared good practices and innovative approaches with colleagues, explaining how these helped them to achieve outstanding results and ensure the sustainability of the implemented projects. The Local Grants Programme was launched on the basis of the Single Support Framework of the European Union (EU), to the Republic of Moldova (2017-2020) under the European Neighbourhood Instrument, through the EU funded Action “Citizens’ Empowerment in the Republic of Moldova” (2019-2021), implemented by the German Development Cooperation through GIZ, in coordination with the project “Modernisation of Local Public Services in the Republic of Moldova.”

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10 RENOVATED LABORATORIES WERE INAUGURATED AT THE TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF MOLDOVA WITH EU SUPPORT 10 laboratories of the Technical University of Moldova (UTM) were renovated within the framework of the Livada Moldovei project, supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. The modernised halls were inaugurated on 7 October 2021.

The direct beneficiaries of the 2 million EUR investments are more than 1,000 UTM students. From now on, they will have at their disposal modern laboratory equipment, as well as a lot of chemical reagents needed for research activities.

Within the same investment project, the Food Technology Faculty building was thermally insulated by installing double glazing on an area of 1,600 m2 and by thermally insulating the walls on an area of 3,100 m2. The works will allow significant resource savings. The investments were made through the Livada Moldovei project, which is a 120 million EUR credit line provided by the European Investment Bank, as a European Union bank, to the Government of the Republic of Moldova. The project supports SME investment in the horticultural sector and around 12 million EUR is allocated for the rehabilitation and equipping of 10 educational and research institutions. The Technical University of Moldova has earlier benefited from an investment worth 1.8 million EUR, provided within the framework of the Wine Sector Restructuring project (“Filiere du Vin”),

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supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. The funds were used for modernising 15 laboratories. „These investments will improve the quality and relevance of the training, education and research related to the horticulture sector in Moldova, so that it meets the European standards. As a result, current students and future specialists will contribute to the creation of an advanced horticulture sector based on innovation and sustainability,” said Alberto Carlei, Head of the European Investment Bank Office in Moldova.

„I want the beneficiaries of this project, and here I mean the Technical University students, to be able to take pride in the fact that they are studying at this world-renowned university, that they have the opportunity to have cross-border projects, international projects, with other universities,” said Iurie Brumărel, Executive Director of Consolidated Unit for Implementing and Monitoring the Wine Sector Restructuring Programme.

The horticulture is an agricultural branch that provides 14% of export revenues and Moldovan producers have facilitated access to a market of about 500 million consumers. The exports to the European Union take place on preferential conditions, due to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which is part of the European Association Agreement and implies the gradual liberalisation of the trade with goods and services.

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LOCAL NGOS AND MEDIA - PROMOTERS OF PUBLIC SERVICES IN THE REGIONS

For two years, the Association of Independent Press (API), in partnership with several civil society organisations and local and regional media, carried out an extensive information and public awareness campaign on quality local services in the regions and the support provided by the EU for the modernisation of the Republic of Moldova. The results and impact of the activities of the project „Civil society and regional media in support of European reforms, sustainable development and citizen participation in strengthening local democracy” were presented on 25-26 October 2021, in a public event.

One of the key components of the project was the EU-funded Local Grants Programme (LGP) Media and Communication, through which 21 organisations carried out 23 information and awareness projects for citizens. At the beginning of the event, Petru Macovei, API Executive Director, mentioned that the EU Local Grants Programme has contributed to strengthening the capacities of non-governmental organisations and local media outlets not only to inform but also to mobilize residents to contribute to community development and of the country.

„I am convinced that what we have done together in these two years is a bridge for other equally interesting activities and projects, with even greater efficiency. We have laid the foundation for good future results in your communities,” said Petru Macovei The beneficiaries of the LGP Media and Communication said that they have tried to find the most creative ways to reach as many people in the local communities as possible. Elena Cobăsneanu, director of AO Info-Dava, Soroca: „During the project we informed over 80 thousand readers and users of our media platforms about the environmental problems in Soroca district, the pollution of the Dniester River, the lack of treatment plant, etc.”. Vitalie Hotnogu, AO Cahul 2030:

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“I am proud of the project I implemented. With just a mobile phone and a drone, my colleagues were able to film five episodes of a show ‘Following the EU funds invested in Cahul district’, they visited 27 localities by bicycle in two weeks. We talked about infrastructure, water and sewerage projects, waste, about the EU for Moldova Programme, where Cahul is a key region.”

Media institutions are catalysts for social change Valentina Pleşca, Head of the Citizens’ Empowerment Unit, GIZ Moldova, highlighted that the beautiful results of the projects are appreciated not only by external partners, but primarily by Moldovan citizens. „People were informed qualitatively and interestingly about challenges in terms of environmental protection, waste management, water, sewerage and energy efficiency. I believe that regional media organisations can be considered part of the mechanism for improving these issues.”

The event was organised within the Action „Citizens’ Empowerment in the Republic of Moldova” (2019-2021), funded by the European Union and implemented by the German Development Cooperation through GIZ, in coordination with GIZ project ‘Modernisation of local public services in the Republic of Moldova’. The partner for increasing the action outreach and citizens engagement potential is the Association of Independent Press (API).

One of the conclusions of the event was that any challenge, both in the field of public services and in other areas, must be addressed from the perspective of partnerships between central and local authorities, civil society organisations and citizens.

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EU SUPPORTS THE PARTNERSHIPS LEADERSHIP AND GOOD GOVERNANCE

FOR

WOMEN

The European Union, jointly with Friedrich-EbertStiftung Moldova and the public association Institutum Virtutes Civilis, have launched the three-year “Partnerships 4 Women Leadership and Good Governance” project with the aim to build the capacities of the Moldovan civil society in order to increase their involvement in governance processes and in changing their communities for the better and to raise the public awareness of the role of women in good governance and of the importance of providing equal opportunities for the participation of women in the social, economic and political processes.

The “Partnerships 4 Women Leadership and Good Governance” project aims to help 80 decisionmakers in the Ialoveni, Rezina, Straseni and Telenesti rayons and 20 decision-makers at national level to improve the governance processes through gender-sensitive public policies, partnerships between the local governments and civil society organizations and through other activities aimed at promoting good governance. The project will also develop the capacities of 55 civil society organizations – 45 at local level and 10 at national level, in fields like participatory democracy, good governance and gender equality.

Around 200 women from the rural areas of the country, including Gagauzia and Transnistria regions, who have the potential and are willing to participate in the decision-making processes, will receive training as part of the Leadership Academy ”Women for Good Governance” and intended to develop their leadership skills and encourage them to involve more actively in the public, economic and social life within their communities, as well as nationwide.

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Finally, the project will finance 15 local initiatives – partnerships between civil society organisations and decision-makers, which will promote gender equality and good governance. The experience gained during the project will be shared during two national fairs and other large-scale events. The launch event of the “Partnerships 4 Women Leadership and Good Governance” project brought together the project partners

and beneficiaries, including representatives of the central and local governments, local and national civil society organisations, international organisations and mass media. The project, implemented by FriedrichEbert-Stiftung Moldova and the public association Institutum Virtutes Civilis, is financed by the European Union and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and covers the period between April 2021 and April 2024.

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SHARING OF EU BEST PRACTICES: RAISA BUGA PROMOTES GENDER EQUALITY IN HER VILLAGE

Photo: Raisa Buga

Raisa Buga is a teacher of geography and the principal of the lyceum Dimitrie Cantemir from Cornesti town, Ungheni district. Being a resident of Cornesti village, she has been working as a teacher for 32 years, always trying to promote gender equality in her community, educating several generations in the spirit of equality and mutual respect. The EVA project – Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts, funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNICEF, encouraged her in this mission, making her to understand how precious her effort is, and helping her to discover innovative tools for advancing gender equality, such as positive deviance. “I live in Cornesti village from Ungheni district. My day begins before sunrise, with a cup of black coffee and the thought – not to miss the school bus, which drives me to the gymnasium from Cornesti town, where I have been teaching geography for thirty-two years, and several years ago becoming a principal. I grew up in a calm family, with the ambition and desire to make “our” world better. In my childhood, I witnessed violence in other families, at my neighbours. I think both women and men can do great things… Such situations determined me to make a change in my community, to get involved. Thanks to different projects, I started teaching gender equality as an optional hour, although at the beginning it was taken with scepticism, it was immediately loved by children. The EVA Project made me to discover a tool I have been using previously, without realizing it – positive deviance. At the beginning, I was surprised to see the way things can work – making a change. Then, I understood that, using this method, I can help many problematic, violent families to be aware of the effects of this phenomenon…

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There were not so many research and education methods in the spirit of gender equality before but now we have more and more tools. Also, within EVA Project, I discovered 2 positive practices, functioning in the EU, related to violence prevention and combating that I decided to apply in school. One of them will be dedicated to promoting gender equality, and the other one, Silence is not golden, will raise awareness on violence and encourage people to report this phenomenon. Unfortunately, women are still vulnerable because they don’t believe in themselves, being afraid to take a stand. In order to succeed, it is important for them to constantly educate and inform themselves. I have already noticed that girls of my children generation can express their views more clearly, this being not typical for women of my generation, who is featured by fear and obedience.

It is important to change the perception in the school, to start with manuals and to explain why fathers should not be represented only as mechanics or bricklayers, and mothers as housewives. The EVA Project teaches us how to use innovation to advance the mission of gender equality in villages and towns from Ungheni district via education. Additionally, the pandemic has changed many things over night. It made us understand how important it is to be together. The main lesson was – one cannot applaud with one hand. The screens made me to feel the isolation, to feel the lack of contact with the other hand, the feet back.”

Raisa Buga, with her 32 years of professional experience in education, promotes gender equality in her village via innovative educational methods. She applies positive practices taken from EU experience, creates role-playing games and works with local initiative groups. Raisa Buga is one of the beneficiaries of EVA Project – Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts, aiming at empowering local public authorities to prevent the phenomenon of gender-based violence and improving the capacity and the evaluation tools of responses and specialised multidisciplinary services.

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PRODUCTION AND BROADCASTING OF NEW 2D ANIMATED SERIES FOR CHILDREN WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION “CONFIDENCE BUILDING MEASURES” PROGRAMME

The Shepherd’s Daughter, Cremene the Mighty, or Dafin and Vestra, but also other heroes of folk tales converted to 2D technologies and transposed from children’s books to screens. Following the pilot animation of five stories by Ion Creangă in 2D, the Kreyon Studio animated five other pieces. The financial support was provided in the framework of the EU-funded “Confidence Building Measures” Programme, implemented by the UNDP. “Dafin şi Vestra”, “The Shepherd’s Daughter”, “Cremene the Mighty”, “Busuioc Fat-Frumos and Ileana-Cosanzeana Sister of the Sun”, “The Mighty from the nowhere World” – these are the animated stories which will be broadcast at Moldova 1 and Bendery TV, on the left bank of the Nistru river, and then made available on the YouTube channel “Kreyon Kids”.

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Actors from the theaters “Vasile Alecsandri” from Balti and “Theater on the Roses Street” from Chisinau were in the creative process, along with designers, illustrators, sound directors and musicians. The soundtracks were recorded in a studio in Chisinau, and is played on violin, clarinet, tambourine, panpipes, or double bass. The animations are available in three languages (Romanian, Russian and English), to make these stories more popular.

“Even in the production stage of the first five stories, we enjoyed the positive comments coming from friends, family and, later, after the broadcast, from the public. This was the moment when we set out to continue animating the stories we grew up with, which we read at the village library,” said Ion Savin. The team hopes that the animations will share the same success of the first five stories. For example, the story “Goat with 3 kids” recorded over 400,000 views on YouTube, during the first six months from its release. “Our newsroom received a lot of calls from viewers, who sent us messages of gratitude for broadcasting the stories. Even the older people called us with the request to broadcast them repeatedly, so that their grandchildren could see them again,” pointed out Janna Nastas, the Director of Bendery TV. European Union “Confidence Building Measures” Programme contributes to increasing cooperation between the residents of both banks of the Nistru river by involving representatives of civil society, the media and business community in joint projects.

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“LIBERĂ”, AN EDUCATIONAL DOCUMENTARY PLAY PERFORMED IN UNGHENI AND CAHUL AS PART OF EU PROJECT ON STRENGTHENING GENDER ACTION

M.A.D.E. Theatre organised a National Tour with the play “Liberă” (Free) in 12 settlements across Cahul and Ungheni districts as part of EVA Project — Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts, funded by European Union and implemented by UN Women Moldova in partnership with UNICEF. “Liberă” is a documentary play about gender stereotypes and prejudices, about the negative impact of violence against women and its repercussions on future generation. The play focuses on the story of an adolescent girl who faces gender stereotypes, and her way towards her dream is told through dance.

In this artistic production, M.A.D.E. Theatre brings to the forefront innovative moments in the art of contemporary play in the Republic of Moldova by inserting interactive props and decorations, as well as video projections.

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The theatre production has an educational approach and invites the public to think about the responsibility of parents in the educational process and about personal responsibility that we assume in any relationship, be it friendship, family or love relationship. The play was performed in Cucoara, Sculeni, Valea Mare, Ungheni and Pirlita, Alexanderfeld, Vadul lui Isac, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Cahul town, Slobozia Mare, Andrusul de Jos and Zirnesti

After each performance, a gender expert moderated a discussion about the topic of the play. This activity is organised under EVA project “Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts”, funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNICEF.

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“GENDER EQUALITY THROUGH THE LENS OF THE CAMERA” PHOTOGRAPHY BOOT CAMP IN UNGHENI AND CAHUL, WITH EU SUPPORT

Two photo camps were organised in Cahul and Ungheni districts “Gender Equality through the lens of the camera” with a strong emphasis on photography practice and trainings around gender equality.

The trainings were led by both national and international experts and consisted of visits to different places, photo shoots, communication with women and men from the region and trainings regarding gender equality and media literacy. The main objective was to encourage young people to become gender equality and human rights advocates in the society, using photography and visual tools, while also giving them the opportunity to try out and master portrait shooting, storytelling photography and photo exhibitions. The boot camp was organised by Media Guard Association in partnership with Ziarul de Gardă under EVA project “Strengthened Gender Action in Cahul and Ungheni districts”, funded by the European Union and implemented by UN Women in partnership with UNICEF.

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EU SUPPORT FOR MOLDOVAN CIVIL SOCIETY: STRENGTHENING OFORGANISATIONAL EFFICIENCY AND CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many CSOs in Moldova having immediate needs for financial and technical support, as well as long-term, structured strategies to adapt to the changing circumstances and rebuild their work. To overcome these difficulties,

Hai Moldova and Tineretul Găgăuziei received support from the European Union to implement capacity development activities, including training in conducting risk assessments, creating contingency plans, and developing appropriate strategies.

Hai Moldova and Tineretul Găgăuziei will benefit from grants of up to 15,000 EUR each as part of the four-year project “COVID-19: Civil Society Resilience and Sustainability” funded by the European Union and implemented by ERIM.

to help the organizations to reach targeted operational goals: supporting the capacity building abilities of the staff, and developing, improving, and implementing related internal policies and documents.

The support aims to strengthen the governance and managerial skills of the CSOs, to enable them to be more effective and accountable institutions within their community. In the coming months, the grants will cover the necessary expenses

Hai Moldova, based in Chișinău, is known in the country for conducting campaigns with the aim to raise the public awareness on environmental issues. They will take part in an organizational assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses and will receive support to adjust their

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internal policies and to develop their skills. Hai Moldova! The staff will also attend two international training sessions to get official certifications in environmental protection and waste management. The lessons learned will help the team to better adapt local and national environmental public policies to the European Union legal Standards.

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Tineretul Găgăuziei, the second grantee, operates in the Gagauz Autonomous Region of Moldova and it is based in Comrat. Their activities will focus on developing a more comprehensive strategic plan to include both long term and short-term goals. Moreover, the organisation is focusing on creating a resilience plan to learn how to manage the negative impacts in occurrence of a crisis.

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2ND ANNUAL FORUM ON BUDGETARY PARTICIPATION: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES RELATED TO ENSURING BUDGETARY PARTICIPATION AT LOCAL LEVEL

The Independent Analytical Center ExpertGrup in cooperation with the Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE) organised on 8 October 2021 the second Annual Forum for Participatory Budgeting under the project ‘Inform, Empower and Act. Civil Society for Good Budgetary Governance in Moldova’ co-funded by the European Union and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The event, which took place online, focused on discussing opportunities and challenges related to ensuring participatory budgeting at local level, especially during the pandemic. The participants discussed and analysed ideas and practical solutions for overcoming the challenges and for raising the power and quality of civic engagement in budgetary processes at local level. Adrian Lupușor, Executive Director, Independent Think Tank “Expert-Grup”, stated

The event was structured into two discussion panels. During the first one, its moderator, Tatiana Savva, Program Director, ExpertGrup, presented an innovative online platform meant to facilitate budgetary participation by means virtual tools. The panel participants discussed about the main challenges related to promoting budgetary participation at local level and how we can overcome them, how we can motivate decision-makers, local public authorities and local communities in order to ensure a transparent, open, and inclusive budgetary process, but also how can budgetary participation contribute to local development.

“Participation of local communities in the budgetaryprocessinthecontextofthepandemic and restrictions is a very important topic. The pandemic should not affect participatory budgeting processes and democracy as a whole. It is important for people to understand that, regardless of sanitary restrictions, their voice is very important at local level. We saw during the project that most mayors and local stakeholders encountered various issues in this respect, particularly physical distancing and online participation have often been quite problematic. It is clear that the efficiency and the impact of a local budget depend on the voice of people, how it is heard and integrated into the budgetary process.”

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Viorel Furdui, Executive Director, Congress of Local Authorities of Moldova: “Nobody can deny participation of citizens in decision making at local level. We notice more and more that the communities that learned to work with the citizens stand out and have a different atmosphere in everything related to community management. At the same time, as local authorities get more access to various financing, funds, it becomes imperative that such funds are managed as efficiently as possible, so that we would achieve more at local level.” Anatolii Topal, Mayor of Ceadîr-Lunga municipality, presented the results of the budgetary process in the town, having mentioned that authorities decided to allocate one million lei for projects submitted by the citizens. In his turn, Ion Cărpineanu, Mayor of Cărpineni commune, Hâncești district, spoke about implementing the ‘My Community’ program in the village with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), under which over 600 citizens got involved and more than 20 streets had been repaired. Lusina Șestacov, leader of the initiative group, participatory budgeting project in Soroca municipality, mostly spoke about difficulties encountered while communicating with local public authorities during the participatory budgeting process. The second panel, moderated by Stanislav Ghilețci, Deputy Executive Director, IPRE, was dedicated to the municipal bonds and how they can contribute to local development, best practice and lessons learned during the issuance of municipal bonds were presented, as well as the main challenges encountered during the issuance of municipal bonds and how can budgetary participation help overcome them.

issued by Ceadîr-Lunga, are the first ones allowed for trading on the Stock Exchange of the Republic of Moldova. Besides that, the issuance of municipal bonds has two big benefits both for local public authorities and for inhabitants of Sîngera town: first of all, we obtained financial resources to fund an infrastructure project (water pipeline) and, secondly, since we talk about budget participation we have citizens getting involved in the implementation of this project.” Click here to watch the video recording of the Annual Forum for Participatory Budgeting 2021. “Inform, Empower, Act. Civil Society for Good Budgetary Governance in Republic of Moldova” is co-funded by the European Union and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung. The project is implemented by the Independent Think Tank ‘Expert-Grup’, as lead partner, in consortium with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS, Germany), Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC, Lithuania) and Institute for European Policies and Reforms (IPRE).

Ion Ceban, Mayor of Chișinău municipality, mentioned that the municipal authorities intend to attract around 65 million lei on the account of issuing municipal bonds out of the 99 million lei planned for the purchase of new trolleybuses. Also, Valeriu Popa, Mayor of Sîngera town, mentioned the following: “We are proud, as a community, that the bonds issued by Sîngera Mayoralty, together with the ones

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THE FIRST VIRTUAL FAIR OF ERASMUS+ CAPACITY BUILDING IN HIGHER EDUCATION PROJECTS

The first Virtual Fair of Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education Projects (CBHE) took place between 26-27 October 2021.

teaching programs in diverse innovative fields, but also to equip our universities with up-to-date technical equipment.

More than 100 projects from all over the world, 7 of them – from the Republic of Moldova (PBLMD, eDRONE, SMART, LMPI, ReSTART, ELEVATE and REFINE) have presented their results and offered practical trainings during the two days of the event.

The Erasmus+ Capacity Building in Higher Education Projects are transnational cooperation actions based on multilateral partnerships, primarily between higher education institutions from Erasmus+ Programme Countries and eligible Partner Countries.

The implementation of these projects in the universities of the Republic of Moldova allowed to introduce new teaching methods, to internationalise and digitalize the higher education, to create bridges between academia and entrepreneurship, to contribute to the professionalization of

These projects aim to promote cooperation and partnerships with impact on modernisation and internationalisation of institutions and higher education systems in Partner Countries, including the Republic of Moldova.

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The main objective of the Virtual Fair was, through the best practices and the results achieved by 2015-2020 funded projects, to inspire academics, university managers, students and national policy makers to shape the next generation of CBHE projects. Subject-specific sessions where results of projects in agriculture, engineering, health, entrepreneurship, digitalization, soft skills etc. took place within the Virtual Fair.

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The showcased projects have succeeded in improving teaching methodologies, expanding the educational offer and enhancing governance efficiency of the higher education Institutions all over the globe. Around 2,000 participants have engaged in the event, and more than 5,000 have followed it live via social media channels.

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MEMBERS OF THE COALITION FOR INCLUSION AND NONDISCRIMINATION URGE MOLDOVAN AUTHORITIES TO IMPROVE THE LEGISLATION ON EQUALITY AND NONDISCRIMINATION Don’t let the disability, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, race, political choice, and other similar criteria create a wall between you and others. This is the message of the Coalition for Inclusion and Non-discrimination, which conducted on 19 October 2021 an online workshop with decision makers. During the workshop, the legislative deficiencies and the commitments of the Republic of Moldova to amend the legislation on equality and nondiscrimination were analysed. The event was carried out by the East Europe Foundation in the framework of the project “Advocacy for better protection against discrimination,” implemented in partnership with the Centre “Partnership for Development”, funded by the European Union and co-financed by Sweden. The members of the Coalition for Inclusion and Non-discrimination presented a series of recommendations for improving the legal framework. In this regard, the need for the urgent approval of the legal framework on combating crimes motivated by prejudice,

hatred and contempt was emphasized; improving legislation concerning the activity of the Council on the Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination and Ensuring Equality, adoption a package of laws to ensure the gender equality and prevent discrimination against women at the workplace, adoption of a document of policies that will establish the mechanism for transposing the legal provisions on ensuring the conditions of accessibility of the physical, informational environment, etc., implementation of pro-active integration measures on the labour market addressed to young people with disabilities, including those returning from detention, etc. The civil society organisations reiterate the importance of finalizing the draft law no. 301/2016 and the acceptance of the amendments formulated by civil society organizations, as well as the recommendations of international organisations, which will lead to increasing the responsibility of actors involved in the use of hate speech.

The authorities have shown their openness to promote the equality in our country through concrete actions, so that disadvantaged groups from the society can be actively involved in the economic and social life of the country. “We are open to take concrete steps to promote the equality and one proof of this is the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, which was recently ratified by our country,” said Angela Munteanu-Pojoga, Deputy, member of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights and Interethnic Relations.

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INSTITUTIONS AND GOVERNMENT EU BORDER ASSISTANCE MISSION: ON GUARD AGAINST ILLICIT CIGARETTE TRADE

In the evening of 8 September, officers of the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova seized almost 2 million illicit cigarettes at the administrative boundary line. The cigarettes were detected in a truck full of sand thanks to the law enforcers’ professional risk analysis. On this occasion, EUBAM congratulates the Customs Service of the Republic of Moldova on the good-performed job and wishes more such successful operations in the future.

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Illicit tobacco trade is a key threat in EUBAM’s area of operations making it one of the highest priorities for the Mission. Especially, this notorious phenomenon is acute at the central segment of the Mission’s area of operation. The problem is rooted in previous excessive import of cigarettes to Transnistrian region, when in 2020 approximately 1.7 billion cigarettes were legally imported to the region. At the same time, the elevated risk of illicit cigarette trade

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is provoked by the discrepancy between cigarette taxation levels in Chisinau and Tiraspol. Consequently, on the right bank of the Nistru River you will pay 2.4 EUR for the average pack of cigarettes, on the left bank you will buy it for a little more than 1 EUR. Considering the proximity of the European market with considerably higher prices for tobacco produce, illicit trade is a real cornucopia for all sorts of smuggling activities.

Hence, EUBAM has been actively supporting and assisting partner services in their fight against illicit tobacco since 2005. Through advisory activity on risk analysis and regular on-the-job mentoring on perpetrators’ modi operandi, the Mission continues to enhance operational and strategic capacities of Ukrainian and Moldovan law enforcers at the different levels. Finally, yet importantly, it is essential to highlight the activity of EUBAMdriven Task Force Tobacco Group, which creates a unique platform for strategic cooperation between law enforcement agencies of the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine, representatives of EU, and major cigarette producers.

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WITH EU SUPPORT, THE BORDER POLICE WAS EQUIPPED WITH TWO AIR-CUSHION VEHICLES FOR IMPROVING THE SURVEILLANCE OF THE MOLDOVA-UKRAINE BLUE BORDER

On 9 September, the General Inspectorate of the Border Police of the Republic of Moldova received two air-cushion vehicles (hovercrafts) which are intended for patrolling the blue border segment between Moldova and Ukraine. Hovercrafts will allow border police officers to conduct patrolling activities in areas with low accessibility and in harsh weather conditions.

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As a result, the response time for border incidents (including search and rescue operations) will be reduced. In addition, an intensive training programme was organized for 14 border police officers which allowed them to acquire advanced knowledge and skills on operation and maintenance of vehicles.

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A group of officers were certified as trainers, therefore consolidating the institutional capacity of the Border Police to instruct new hovercraft pilots. The activities were conducted in the framework of “EU4BorderSecurity” project which is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mission to Moldova, in partnership with Moldovan and Ukrainian border and customs authorities.

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BEST EUROPEAN PRACTICES FOR STRENGTHENING CROSS-BORDER INFORMATION EXCHANGE

Even though there is a good level of cooperation between Moldovan and Ukrainian border agencies, when it comes to fighting cross-border crime, secure and effective information exchange is pivotal. With this in mind, EUBAM (European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine) hosted a workshop for its Partners from the Ukrainian Border Guard Service and Moldovan Border Police on the

During the workshop experts from the European law enforcement agencies introduced SIENA to the Ukrainian and Moldovan border guards and policemen, offering them a better understanding of what SIENA is and what useful features it has for a secure data transfer, making it an application of choice especially for the jointly operated border crossing points. German Federal Police demonstrated practical implementation of SIENA in the Police and Customs Cooperation Centre (PCCC) Passau, at the border between Germany and Austria. At the same time representatives of National

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Europol’s Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA). On 14 September, a total of 46 participants took part in the workshop, including speakers from Europol and the German Federal Police, decision-makers and experts from the border agencies of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, as well as observers from the National Police of Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova

Police of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, which already successfully use that system to exchange intelligence with their European counterparts shared their experience. In the end, the participants discussed the peculiarities and strategy for the possible future SIENA’s implementation at Common Contact Point (CCP) Palanca. According to Europol, it could be the first time when non-EU countries use this Europol system for secure information exchange between each other.

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ROLE OF PATENT SYSTEM IN DEALING WITH PUBLIC HEALTH CHALLENGES DISCUSSED WITHIN A REGIONAL EVENT A regional workshop dedicated to the role of patent system in dealing with Public Health challenges was organised on 15 September 2021. Within the workshop were discussed Patent Law and Public Health: international regulatory framework and implementing

mechanisms, compulsory licensing & access to medicines, recent developments in compulsory licensing legislation at the national level and ongoing legislative initiatives.

The workshop was organised with the support of the EU Project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova”, by the State Agency on Intellectual Property of the Republic of Moldova (AGEPI), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO). Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the event took place in hybrid format (online and physical presence of a part of participants) and gathered more than 70 participants, representing intellectual property offices, as well as other organisations in charge of intellectual property and public health in Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Primoz Vehar, Team Leader of the EU-funded project supporting the implementation of the Association Agreement, noted the

project supports the Republic of Moldova in its efforts in implementing the Association Agreement with the European Union and gradual legal approximation with the European Union. At the same time, Mr. Vehar highlighted that intellectual property is one of the key topics in the Association Agreement and therefore the project’s team works closely with its national partners in the country, including the State Agency on Intellectual Property (AGEPI), on various aspects of intellectual property with special emphasis on the related legislative changes.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, the connection between patent law and public health has become significantly important, especially in terms of accessibility to medicines, the rights of states to intervene with compulsory measures. I am glad that this EU-funded project helped with the organisation of this event and provides support to the authorities in the Republic of Moldova, specifically to AGEPI, namely in related changes to the patent law, in the area of compulsory licensing, which will hopefully be introduced in the Republic of Moldova, as well.” Primoz Vehar, Team Leader of the EU-funded “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova”

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Similarly, the General Director of AGEPI, Mr. Eugeniu Rusu, highlighted the topic of the conference is not only quite appropriate, but also very well anchored in current circumstances, expressing his hope that the workshop will facilitate the exchange of experience in this significant field. Saule Tlevlessova, the President of the Eurasian Patent Office (EAPO) of the Eurasian Patent Organisation highlighted that the pandemic has imposed various challenges on intellectual property due to the race in registering vaccines and pharmaceutical products, hence sharing experience among intellectual property organisations is of utmost importance. The State Agency on Intellectual Property informed the participants about the existing national legal framework in the field of patents, while presenting the draft law developed by AGEPI with the support of the European Union to ensure harmonisation in line with the European standards and practices of the legal licensing framework, in particular those related to the granting of patents in the field of health. Ms. Tomoko Miyamoto, Head of Patents and Treaties Law Section of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) explained the peculiarities of the patent law in the context of innovation and access to health technologies, international regulatory framework and implementing mechanisms of the patent law in public health.

Furthermore, the EU expert Bojan Pretnar, former first Director of the Slovene Intellectual Property Office and former senior WIPO official, presented the compulsory patent licensing in public health framework as laid down in the recently added Article

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31bis to the WTO Agreement on Traderelated Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). This Article makes possible that compulsory licensing system in cases of public health is available also to countries which do not dispose with

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domestic pharmaceutical industry capable of producing the relevant licensed drugs. Mr. Pretnar also mentioned the importance of non-voluntary government-use licence for countries which are not Members of the WTO - provided that such countries do dispose with domestic pharmaceutical industry capable of production of relevant drugs under this type of compulsory licence. The participants appreciated the usefulness of the regional workshop and expressed their interest and willingness to continue the discussions in subsequent events to address other issues related to intellectual property.

The EU-funded project: “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova” aims at increasing the capacities of the Government of the Republic of Moldova and other key national institutions in implementing the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement. The project’s work is arranged into 4 components contributing to the further enhancement of structured policy dialogue with civil society, improving policy development mechanisms for adequate budgeting of strategic documents, supporting the legal approximation process by providing technical expertise and capacity building as well as upgrading the IT systems in public administration supporting the implementation of the Association Agreement. The project is implemented by a consortium led by DAI – Human Dynamics for a five-year implementation period.

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FINANCIAL ANALYSIS AND RISK ASSESSMENT COURSE ORGANISED WITH EU SUPPORT During 28 - 30 September 2021 the EUfunded project “Support the Moldovan Government in identifying and preparing projects linked to the implementation of the Association Agreement” (PPF Project)

organised the second cycle of delivery of the “Financial Analysis and Risk Assessment” training course. The course was offered to the Ministry of Finance State Treasury and State Assets Directorates.

Structured in 6 modules, the course covers important topics related to the analysis and application of cash flow, performance metrics, capital structure, cost of capital, risk modelling, classification and mitigation, and more. The course combines theory and several short exercises to enhance practical understanding and improve analytical skills. The course trainers are PPF Project experts, Constantinos Kyriakopoulos and Daniela Cotorobai.

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STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF MOLDOVAN PARLIAMENT IN THE ASSOCIATION PROCESS WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION

On 25 October, over 30 participants took part in a workshop on the topic of strengthening the role of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova in the association process with the European Union. The workshop was organised by the team of

experts of the EU funded project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova.”

Specifically, the event was designed as an induction of new Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff of the Parliament, as well as a structural platform aiming at sharing of experience to: ◊ Introduce MPs on their legislative, oversight and representative functions, specifically in terms of EU roles and responsibilities and EU main stakeholders; ◊ Increase MPs’ knowledge of the legal approximation process and the role of assigned committee(s) and relevant stakeholders; ◊ Provide MPs with a deeper insight into the oversight role of the Parliament in the EU association process; ◊ Map further information needs of MPs.

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Primož Vehar, Project Team Leader, former Head of the Secretariat of the Committee on European Affairs in the Slovenian Parliament, briefed the participants on the Association Agreement implementation, including the EU-Moldova working bodies, the main EU integration planning documents and the cooperation with the Government and exchange of information in light of Association Agreement. In addition, the participants were informed about the oversight role of the Parliament in the EU integration process, namely the different tools of oversight with practical examples from the Slovenian Parliament during EU accession process, but also mechanisms of engaging social partners (NGOs, associations, etc.) during Association Agreement implementation. Some of the participants noted throughout the workshop that many of the electronic resources referenced during the one-day induction were new to them and seemed useful for upcoming work in the Parliament. At the same time, the participants discussed the priorities of reform agenda including the fight against corruption, reform of the judiciary and rule of law, respect for human rights, export to the EU markets and trade, etc.

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Furthermore, Olev Aarma, Senior Expert, former Head of the Secretariat of the Committee on European Affairs in the Estonian Parliament made an induction into the legal approximation process and role of the Parliament, by pointing out the instruments, methods, techniques and tools of approximation. Mr. Aarma referred to the importance of interaction of the Parliament with Governmental bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, line ministries, Centre for Legal Approximation etc., and shared best practice examples in area of legal approximation process from Estonia. Engaging the Parliament in participatory dialogue with a view to forging consensus and contributing to advancing EU-related reforms is vital for the country’s progress on its EU path. Hence, as a result of the workshop the new MPs and Parliament staff have been exposed to the variety of opportunities of how the Parliament may engage in the oversight and advancing the Association Agreement linked reforms in the benefit of the citizens of the Republic of Moldova.

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THE NEW DATA PROTECTION LAW IN LINE WITH EUROPEAN STANDARDS PROVIDES TRANSPARENT RULES BENEFITTING THE CITIZENS The EU funded Project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova” completed the process of reviewing the compliance of national laws with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Upgrading this particular national legislation is significant for all citizens of the Republic of Moldova, because privacy and data protection have become increasingly crucial in everyday life, both in private life and at work.

The rights to privacy and data protection have long been recognised as fundamental rights. Therefore, when organisations, companies, websites or applications, collect, process and keep personal data, such as names, functions, office addresses, phone numbers, photos, email address, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origin, genetic data, civil status etc. – these types of information collected, including the storage mechanisms and further use of data gathered – must be regulated to ensure that the fundamental right to privacy and data protection are respected and protected by adequate laws.

GDPR represents a legal act which ensures a homogenous application of the data protection principles throughout all EU member states. The Republic of Moldova, according to Association Agreement, has assumed the commitment to update its own legislation in line with the European Union law. Currently, new Data protection law was elaborated and submitted for the adoption to the Parliament. The Republic of Moldova is on the way to adopt a new data protection law in line with the European acquis. Namely, the project experts assessed the degree of compliance of Regulation No.2016/679 (GDPR) and Police Directive No.2016/680 of the draft Law on personal data protection and Law on National Center for Personal (NCPDP) data protection, adopted in 1st reading by the Parliament. The draft laws adopted by the Parliament in 1st reading were around 60% compliant with the provisions of the GDPR. To improve the respective legislation, the draft laws were analysed on “article-by-article basis” asking representatives to express all the objections/proposals or questions they had. Each provision which was questioned or objected from the private sector side was discussed and explained by the team of project experts. Also, the experts of the EU funded project drafted a brief document „Basic principles and developments on personal data protection in the European Union and the Republic of Moldova” with historical references and explanation of the basic principles of the personal data protection. The major purpose of the document is to introduce the necessity and reasons of the personal data protection regulation in the modern world with the interaction of the new technologies. There document details the recent developments of the legal requirements on personal data protection in the EU that can benefit the Republic of Moldova.

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Such an in-depth analysis on the new approach of the personal data protection legislation is necessary in order to understand the scope of the legislative changes necessary in the legislation of the Republic of Moldova to fulfil the obligation of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member

States, of the one part, and the Republic of Moldova, of the other part. This analysis also helps raise awareness and understanding on basic rules on personal data protection, to complement the previous assessment on legislation proposal on personal data protection adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova.

Why is it important to protect personal data? In the modern world, where technologies are developing fast, data is becoming a value that can be transferred and used at high speed. Personal data is a type of property, and each person has the right to decide, according to law provisions, how to use this data. The ignorant or abusive use of personal data can cause harm. If for example, a person gave a piece of their personal data, for e.g. phone number, to subscribe for a client card, but then this information is transferred to another company, then unexpected calls might follow or text messages from another company to buy its products, etc. In this case, a person’s right to data protection, which is a fundamental right, is infringed, and the person’s freedom to decide over this is also infringed. Such kind of data cannot be transferred to third parties without the person’s consent. This is where the law on data protection intervenes and protects citizens.

For the Republic of Moldova, the new data protection law shall bring together with rights, also duties, but in first place it should raise awareness about the accountability of use of personal data. It shall also bring benefits for private companies to develop their businesses and bring more clarity for the state institutions to use and access personal data according to transparent and clear rules at European level. Subsequently, for citizens, the new law on data protection brings a range of benefits, amongst which: ◊ provides a higher level of protection of personal data; ◊ gives a range of possibilities to inquire both state and private institution regarding the personal data. The right to access personal data implies that a citizen can inquire an institution about its data and the institution is obliged to answer. ◊ enables citizens to ask for the rectification of data if it is incorrect; ◊ allows citizens, under some circumstances, to ask the processor to restrict the data processing; ◊ provides the right to data portability and gives citizens the right to ask the data to be transmitted to another party; ◊ enables citizens to ask for the erasure of the data.

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EU HIGH LEVEL ADVISERS’ MISSION: PROGRESS DISCUSSED DURING THE PROJECT’S STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING

The 5th Steering Committee meeting of the Project “Support to the Implementation of the EU High Level Advisers’ Mission” took place on 19 October 2021. Members of the Steering Committee – representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova and Government institutions – discussed and assessed the activities carried out during the first semester of 2021. In the opening of the meeting, Adrian Ermurachi, Deputy Secretary General of the Government, emphasized the usefulness of the project and the valuable support the Government is receiving via the EU High Level Advisers’ (HLAs) Mission. Magdalena Mueller-Uri, Head of the Cooperation the Delegation of the

European Union to the Republic of Moldova, underlined the high demand of the beneficiary institutions for the expertise available within the EU HLA Mission, expressing appreciation for the fruitful cooperation with the HLAs and the project team. Pavlos Kollias, Team Leader of the Mission, presented the main activities carried out in the framework of the project, included in its 5th Semestrial Interim Report, which was endorsed by the Steering Committee members. The meeting also served as a platform to discuss and decide on the current situation of the EU High Level Advisers Mission and future steps and activities envisaged for the upcoming period.

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OPERATIONAL STATE AID CONTROL SYSTEM IN LINE WITH EU STANDARDS - A TOOL FOR HEALTHY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT The EU funded project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process” offered expertise and support to Competition Council in the Republic of Moldova in their efforts to improve practice in the field of State aid in line with the system existing in the European Union. During November 2020 – October 2021, a team of experts from Latvia and Hungary closely worked with the authorities in the Republic of Moldova on respected its obligations arising from Articles 339 - 342 of the Associations Agreement with the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States (Association Agreement) in the field of State aid. Objectives of the State aid modernisation in the European Union (EU), which started in 2012, encouraged governments of Member States to grant “good aid” which stimulates economic growth, job creation and objectives of common interest. Good aid means it is targeted to support horizontal objectives under the State aid scheme that may be used for number of companies. Measures providing benefits only to specific companies provides greater risk for distorting competition as there is discrimination between companies that receive assistance and others that do not. The EU State aid legal framework provides that the same playing field is applied for all Member States irrespective of their wealth, thus avoiding as much as possible subsidy race between different Member States. In terms of effective State aid, interventions by governments shall compliment market forces and target support to well defined market failures to fix them, for example, by granting support for protecting the environment, encouraging the use of renewable energies, investing in marketoriented research and innovation, and attracting investors to the less developed territories of the country.

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Source: https://ec.europa.eu/competition-policy/state-aid_en

It shall be noted that State aid comes at the expense of taxpayers’ money. Therefore, it is important to focus State aid on the types of support that are a key for the growth of economy of the country and to limit government’s interventions to support inefficient companies (companies in difficulties) to keep them on the market, for example, without a proper restructuring plan. Also, where State aid is not having incentive effect, it is, where State aid is paid for activities that the beneficiary company would undertake anyway, granting of State aid is considered as a waste of public resources.

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The EU State aid policy is essential tool to ensure better and more efficient use of public resources and it is equally applied for all Member States of the European Union (EU). Hence, to be part of the EU internal market it is vital for Moldova to aligning its legislation with that of the European Union in the area of State aid. In the EU, general definition of State aid is provided Article 107 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

State resources

Competition distortion and impact on trade

Economic advantage

Selectivity

STATE AID

By signing the Association Agreement on 27 June 2014, Moldova undertook to set-up fully operational State aid control system by September 2019. Some of the main achievements of the Republic of Moldova to introduce wellfunctioning national State aid control system that corresponds to the system of the European Union are summarised below.

State aid legal framework Moldova adopted the Law on State aid (hereinafter also ‘the Law’) in 2012. Changes in the Law have been made in 2014, 2018 and 2020. The Law on State aid is defining main principles that derive from the Treaty of the Functioning of the European as well as from the secondary rules of the European Union in the field of State aid. At the same time, the Law prescribes applicable procedures to perform State aid control functions in the Republic of Moldova. Moreover, Moldova has adopted extensive number of secondary legislations to be used for the State aid compatibility assessment, but majority of

Regulations of the Competition Council are outdated if compared to the EU State aid law requirements. Hence it is a continuous process, as the EU law in the field of State aid is not static, it changes with periodic regularity (average within every 5-8 years). This in turn, requires that Moldova follows closely the latest changes in the EU law and adjust or replace Moldovan legal acts with new Regulations of the Competition Council. Considering expected changes in the EU State aid legal framework in 2021 and 2023, it is important to plan substantial revision of the Moldovan State aid related secondary legislation in 2021 - 2024.

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Organisation of State aid control The Association Agreement requires Moldova to establish an operationally independent authority entrusted with powers necessary for the control of State aid by September 2016. The Competition Council is the sole authority in Moldova with the competence to decide on State aids compliance with the Law on State aid and consequently to grant permission to implement certain State aid measures, or to prohibit implementation of certain State aid measures, if they harm competition. The Competition Council is having territorial offices, whose competence is to provide consultations to State aid granting authorities in regions, to identify potential State aid measures, including de minimis State aid, to help in using SIA RAS (State aid registry), to

provide support regarding annual reporting, including reporting on granted de minimis State aid, to monitor implementation of the State aid measures in regions that are approved by the Competition Council, to take part in initiated State aid investigation procedures, as well as to organise seminars and roundtables to promote State aid discipline in Moldova. Furthermore, the team of experts provided support by elaborating an Assessment Report on the ‘Legal, procedural, and institutional aspects of State aid control system in the European Union and in the Republic of Moldova’, which was released to State Aid relevant institutions, containing further improvement recommendations, including awareness raising activities.

The EU-funded project “Support for structured policy dialogue, coordination of the implementation of the Association Agreement and enhancement of the legal approximation process in the Republic of Moldova” aims at increasing the capacities of the Government of the Republic of Moldova and other key national institutions in implementing the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement. The project’s work is arranged into 4 components contributing to the further enhancement of structured policy dialogue with civil society, improving policy development mechanisms for adequate budgeting of strategic documents, supporting the legal approximation process by providing technical expertise and capacity building as well as upgrading the IT systems in public administration supporting the implementation of the Association Agreement. The project is implemented by a consortium led by DAI – Human Dynamics for a five-year implementation period.

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EU OFFERS CONTINUOUS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT THE NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

During September-October 2021, the project “Technical Assistance to Support the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) of the Republic of Moldova” continued the implementation of the planned activities, carrying out several workshops, trainings and events. In September, 49 NBS employees successfully completed an English language

course. Trained by qualified teachers during a nine month period, NBS employees benefited from a free English language course, held online twice a week. Advanced knowledge of English will allow NBS staff to access methodological documents of EU and international standards, and the acquis communautaire related to official statistics.

In October, the NBS started to test new and modern methods of data collection for household surveys. From 4 to 8 October, and again on 21 and 22 October, the project supported the organisation of training activities for field enumerators and supervisors aimed at testing and practicing a Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) application developed jointly by project experts and NBS IT staff. For the first time, Moldovan statistical data for the Labour Force Survey (LFS) is being collected digitally, using tablets syncronised with a central server. CAPI is a modern alternative for the traditional paper-based statistical data collection, where interviewers use handheld electronic devices to collect data from respondents. Starting from the second half of October, the trained field operators have started to work in the field in several localities across the country.

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On 22 October, on the occasion of the World Statistics Day, celebrated on 20 October, the National Bureau of Statistics organised an event dedicated to the use of spatial data and geospatial tools for the production and dissemination of official statistics. The event was attended by representatives of the Agency for Land Relations and Cadastre, the Public Services Agency, the Ministry of Finance and academia, as well as international donors, project experts and development partners. During the event, it was reported on the current implementation of the Global Statistical Geospatial Framework and the National Spatial Data Infrastructure in the Republic of Moldova and the role of NBS and the Agency for Land Relations and Cadastre within it. The discussions revealed the importance of integrating the official statistics with other data systems, the interoperability of all partners involved and the establishment of sustainable partnerships. In this context, the NBS confirmed its commitment to further develop the geospatial statistical infrastructure to align with other European countries. Project activities continued with an online workshop, held during 25-26 October, organised on the implementation of the methodology of the European System of Integrated Statistics on Social Protection (ESSPROS) in the Republic of Moldova. During the workshop, project experts familiarised the participants with the structure of the EU methodology and the main definitions used

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by EU countries and stressed the importance of aligning the Moldovan social protection system to EU standards. The workshop also aimed at presenting and validating the social protection schemes identified by the NBS with the support of EU assistance, by organising individual meetings with the national partner institutions responsible for producing data on social protection, mainly concerning the financial flows of expenditure and income on the Moldovan population social protection. Moreover, project experts assisted the NBS in a number of other statistical fields, such as structural business surveys and international trade statistics, improvement of national legislation related to official statistics, education statistics, user satisfaction surveys, metadata systems for statistics. Finally, the NBS staff and project experts further progressed on the implementation of a new website of the Institution, and on the development of a new branding more in line with the latest modern trends of European national statistical institutes.

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EU SUPPORT TO THE MOLDOVAN AGENCY FOR LAND RELATIONS AND CADASTRE: RESULTS AND NEXT STEPS

September and October months of 2021 were full of activities within the EU-funded Twinning project “Improving spatial data services in the Republic of Moldova following EU standards”. In addition to the 5th Project Steering Committee meeting organised in this period, missions were carried out in 4 out of the 5 Components of the project. The following achieved results are worth mentioning:

◊ The National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI) cost report was finalised, ◊ Work began on drafting the methodology for identifying NSDI-generated benefits, ◊ The Modelling Guidance document containing requirements for the development of the data models* was presented to 24 participants from 15 NSDI public institutions during a workshop, ◊ Work continued on the development of a methodology document on the creation and maintenance of standard Metadata**. The experts provided detail description of many metadata elements and their encodings with illustrative examples, ◊ Continuous provision of expertise and support during the procurement process of the NSDI Geoportal***, ◊ The Data Harmonisation report including guidelines/recommendations for the data harmonisation between various data sets has been finalised and presented to 19 participants from 10 Moldovan NSDI public institutions, ◊ The existing Technological Framework of the NSDI has been reviewed and recommendations were given for spatial data sets and services, based on international technical standards, ◊ The NSDI Awareness and Communication Plan was finalised and agreed with the BC institution, ◊ Government Decision No. 254/2018 on data sharing was analysed and the needs for improvement were identified.

Despite the working circumstances given the COVID-19 virus pandemic and existing travel restrictions worldwide, the experts’ missions were very effective, cooperation among partners was intensive, and the project outputs and deliverables were produced in due time according to the plan. The project aims to contribute to further development of NSDI in the Republic of Moldova based on EU INSPIRE Directive. The NSDI should be a functional tool for citizens, public institutions and economic operators in order to check relevant information regarding properties,

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infrastructures and environmental issues, as well as a reliable tool to the authorities for better planning capabilities in a broad range of sectorial policies. Developed NSDI leads to avoiding the duplication of costs and efforts, as well as contributes to the improvement of the statelevel decision-making processes.

* A data model is an abstract model that organises elements of data and standardizes how they relate to one another and to the properties of real-world entities. ** Metadata is data about data and represents one of the basic components of Spatial Data Infrastructure. To properly and efficiently use data, it is necessary to know basic information about them. People collect and use metadata for a long time, while making lists, inventories, and other systematic records of objects or phenomena to get an overview of the collected data. *** NSDI Geoportal serves as a starting point for accessing spatial data sources that are part of NSDI. It provides the services of metadata collecting, discovery, viewing, and download. By using the NSDI Geoportal, metadata can be edited and maintained, spatial data sources searched, analysed and viewed, information found on the terms of their use, and data can be downloaded for use.

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ECONOMY AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT RESULTS FOR 2020: INCREASE OF MOLDOVAN EXPORTS OF FRUITS, VEGETABLE OILS AND WINE TO EU COUNTRIES The pandemic has greatly affected global economies as well as trade relations between states. However, even during the sanitary crisis, Moldova has managed to achieve some progress in exporting some categories of agri-food products to EU countries. Thus, in 2020 the volume of exports of fruits, vegetable oils, wine, as well as canned fruits, vegetables or nuts increased.

Vegetable oil exports increased from 63 million EUR in 2019 to 85 million EUR in 2020, with an increase of 34.9%.

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At the same time, last year, compared to 2019, exports of wine, vermouth, cider and vinegar increased by 16.3%, while exports of fruit by 15.4%. Exports of fruit juices also slightly increased by 2.3%. While exports of vegetables decreased by 66.7%, Moldovan canned products sales of vegetable, fruit and nut on the European market increased by 54.5% - to 17 million EUR. Exports to the European Union take place on preferential conditions due to the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, which is part of the European Association Agreement and involves the gradual liberalisation of the trade of goods and services. The EU is the first trading partner and the first investor in the Republic of Moldova. According to the National Bureau of Statistics data, in the first five months of 2021, exports of goods to EU countries increased by 16.5% compared to the corresponding period of 2020, accounting for 65.2% of the total volume of exports.

Facilitated access to a market of over 500 million consumers in the European Union has motivated many Moldovan producers to turn west. This is also the case of the Cibotaru family, who after many years of trading fresh fruit, has decided to sell dried fruit, which is in increasing demand among consumers. Following the healthy food trend, the Nisvinex Grup company has created its own brand and is now producing apple and prune crisps for export to EU countries. In 2020, the company received a loan of over 1 million EUR under the Livada Moldovei credit line, a programme supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. The financing was needed in order to develop the infrastructure, by building and equipping a 1,200-tonne capacity fruit storage and processing hall. The company’s contribution

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amounted to over 1 million EUR, consisting of investments in agricultural machinery, horticultural processing equipment and investments in cold storage.

“Once the investments have just been implemented, we are still in the process of estimating the evolution of the turnover, we will be able to talk about a final result in two or three years. For the time being, we can say that following the investment made in the construction of the first cold storage facility, the turnover has increased two or three times,” said Luminița Cibotaru.

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This is the company’s third cold storage facility and it allows fruits to be stored for up to half a year. “We stored the grapes and most of it were exported to Romania. For us, this is an extraordinary market. When they hear that the product is from Moldova, they know it’s tasty and of good quality. We are very happy with the possibilities this market offers us,” mentioned Luminița Cibotaru. Due to the investment in the warehouse, new jobs have been created. 30 people from nearby villages work in two shifts. Here the fruit is washed, peeled, cut and dried. The company has created its own brand and now sells red and green apple crisps, dried plums and chocolate apple rings.

In 2020, Nisvinex Grup harvested 750 tons of apples, 600 tons of plums and 800 tons of grapes. Almost 30% of the fruit was exported. Through the European Investment Bank, the European Union provides support to Moldovan farmers to develop their rural businesses and increase their competitiveness.

More information about the Livada Moldovei credit line and its opportunities can be found here, https://livada-moldovei.md.

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EAP COVID-19 SOLIDARITY PROGRAMME: PANDEMIC RESTRICTIONS TURNED INTO OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Fewer customers, stagnant sales, suspension or discontinuation of business – these are just some of the problems small and medium-sized entrepreneurs have faced since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions imposed by the pandemic have caught many entrepreneurs unprepared to find an alternative to continue working. The Dreamclass platform, created online, is the solution proposed by the Dreamups team for those who own a business and want to transform it to the digital dimension. Dreamclass includes five practical and indepth masterclasses on current topics for entrepreneurs, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many businesses have moved online. Each masterclass is a 4-5 hour video course taught by one or two experts in the field. The Dreamclass platform – the first of its kind in the Republic of Moldova – was created with the support of the European Union, through

the project “Eastern Partnership – COVID-19 Solidarity Programme”, implemented by People in Need Moldova. The five masterclasses cover topics such as sources of finance for business development, legality in online trade and exports for small and medium enterprises, and digital marketing. Entrepreneurs can also learn about e-commerce and how to sell their products online.

Tatiana Doroshkevich, one of the first Dreamclass users, was pleased with the platform: “I wanted to open an online shop, but I realised that the legal aspects are not familiar to me. I signed up on the Dreamclass platform because I want to expand my knowledge in this field, but also to participate in changing the way of doing business in our country, i.e. the transition to online”.

Entrepreneurs from all over the country can register for their desired masterclass at https://dreamclass.md/.

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EU SUPPORTS THE MODERNISATION OF RURAL LOCALITIES OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA The EU funded project “Civil society engagement in improving the rural development processes and promotion of efficient models for sustainable local development” aims to support civil society to engage in political dialogue, but also to solve concrete problems for the transformation of rural communities. Thus, these objectives are achieved, primarily, due to the activities of the Rural Community Development Network (RCDN) -

a platform created within the project, which is dedicated to efficient and constructive communication between the main actors involved in the development of the agrorural sector. This network engages civil society in the process of developing national documents and strategies, which contribute to the improvement of public policies aimed at raising the living standard in villages. The documents and recommendations developed by RCDN are promoted at local and national level through advocacy actions.

Another important activity within the project is the creation of models for sustainable local development through a territorial approach. Which, in practice, means supporting Local Action Groups (LAG). Thus, the project selected on a competition basis 12 LAGs that benefited from a complex program of capacity development and financial support. Resultantly, the beneficiary LAGs received grants amounting to 155,000 EUR, which subsequently went to the implementation of 68 local mini-projects including four sectors: agriculture, public services and infrastructure, business and trade and rural tourism.

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September-October has been the final period for this component of the project and respectively the last monitoring visits to the beneficiaries of the mini-projects took place totaling the gained results. As numbers, these results are as expected and impressive: 25 modernized agricultural businesses, of which 11 zootechnical farms

and 14 businesses in the phytotechnical sector. Supporting the non-agricultural sector has also good results: seven entrepreneurial ideas received financing for development and at the same time, four other new businesses were launched, and 12 projects contributed to the development of infrastructure and rural tourism services.

Due to the collaboration between the public sector and civil society, numerous public places and playgrounds for children have been arranged and repaired, 21 new jobs have been created and another 20 have been modernised. The 68 projects are from different areas of the country, and some of them can serve as a source of inspiration and motivation, worthy of being multiplied and promoted, both locally and regionally. Thus, among the 68 beneficiaries, we present you two ideas that from dreams turned into deeds.

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EU SUPPORT FOR LAGS INITIATIVES: OPENING OF „RURAL HOUSE” FOR TOURISTS IN COBANI VILLAGE In the center of Cobani village, on a country road, you may see the „Rural House Catinca”. The house is in the same colors that our grandparents used to make - white and blue as the sky. These traditional nuances seem

to carry out a message, from generation to generation „Eternity was born in the village”. Perhaps by this nostalgic call were attracted the spouses Zama, Lilia and Victor in this rural infinity.

Six years ago, the two decided to leave the capital’s agglomeration and move to Cobani village, Glodeni district. This is Victor’s motherland, and in a very short time, Lilia managed to fit perfectly into the rural landscape. Their story began with the desire to make changes, both in their personal lives and that of the natives of Cobani.

and turned it into an authentic location, to attract tourists to rest, especially since the village is placed in an attractive geographical area.

First, they founded an association to provide services to vulnerable and disadvantaged people. Last year, they decided to develop rural tourism in the locality. They bought an old house in the neighborhood, renovated it

In order to develop their idea, they participated in the contest organized by the Local Action Group (LAG) “Rocks of the Prut”, where they came up with the idea of building a gazebo in the yard of the house. The plan has been approved and the young couple received funding. In September, the gazebo was ready to meet visitors, outdoors.

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Beneficiary of the contest organised by the LAG “Stâncile Prutului” (Rocks of the Prut). LAG contribution: 42 000 MDL, personal contribution: 30 000 MDL, purchase: construction of wooden gazebo, place: Cobani, Glodeni.

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EU SUPPORT FOR LAGS INITIATIVES: FARMER FROM OCNIȚA RETURNED HOME AND DEVELOPED A BUSINESS For ten years, Iurie Lupu worked abroad, and in 2011, he returned home, in Hadarauti, Ocnita, where he opened a pork farm. He would like to expand his business, but he has no one to work with - all the work is on Iurie and his wife, Svetlana.

piglets. Although they have few animals, their business is going well. However, due to the lack of a specially arranged space, the business was quite difficult. Iurie applied with a project to the contest organised by the Local Action Group (LAG) „33 de Vaduri”.

As Iurie is a mechanical engineer by profession, and Svetlana is a teacher, things have to be done according “to the book”. However, the main rule in Svetlana and Iurie Lupu’s family is respect and care for

The evaluation committee assessed Iurie’s proposal and approved the funding. Recently, he installed new boxes with space for pigs, and thus managed to reduce losses by 30%.

Beneficiary of the contest organised by LAG „33 de Vaduri”: ◊ LAG contribution: 32,500 lei ◊ Personal contribution: 17,500 lei ◊ Purpose of funding: purchasing boxes for pork farm ◊ Location: Hadarauti. The project “Civil society engagement in improving the rural development processes and promotion of efficient models for sustainable local development” is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Federation of Agricultural Producers from

Moldova „FARM”, in partnership with the Federation of Farmers „Farmer”, Romania, NGO „Worshop for Solutions”, Latvia, and the National Network LEADER from the Republic of Moldova.

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EU CONFIDENCE-BUILDING MEASURES PROGRAMME: FOUR NEW TOURIST ROUTES COULD CONNECT BOTH BANKS OF THE NISTRU RIVER Four tourist routes could connect the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, promoting tourism in the Nistru river basin at European level, and not only. This is the main conclusion of a roundtable held in Orhei, in hybrid format, on 1 October 2021, which brought together over 20 representatives of profile associations and tour operators from the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

The event, entitled “Sustainable tourism as a driving force for regional development: the experience of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine,” was organised with the support of the European Union Programme “Confidence-Building Measures”, implemented by the UNDP, which contributes to strengthening trust among population on both banks of the Nistru river, through their involvement in joint development projects.

Each of the four new routes has a distinct thematic and will connect the Republic of Moldova, including the region on the left bank of the Nistru, and Ukraine. ◊ Medieval fortresses: Soroca, Tighina and Hotin; ◊ The wineries “Buchetul Moldovei” in Gradinita, Leuntea and Dubasari - Tîrnauca Glass Museum – “Kvint” winery in Tiraspol - wineries in Odessa region, Ukraine;

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◊ Rural-ecological tourism: Orheiul Vechi, the resorts in Criuleni on the left bank of the Nistru and the guesthouses in Odessa region, Ukraine; ◊ Spiritual places, such as the Chitcani Monastery, the “Marta and Maria” Monastery in Hagimus, the Nativity Cathedral in Tiraspol and the Fortress - Monastery in Ismail, Ukraine.

A platform for continuous dialogue between touristic industry representatives and regulators in both countries will be set up, to ensure mutually beneficial environment for the development of the Nistru river basin tourism sector, including improving the regulatory framework needed to streamline movement and attract tourists.

The participants at the roundtable signed a resolution, which provides for the commitment to promote common routes, creation of tourist information centres, expansion of international funding sources, mutually clear and transparent conditions for the movement and finding of foreign tourists necessary elements for developing sustainable tourism in the Nistru river basin.

“Generating competitiveness and sustainability of tourist destinations this should be the right approach. It is also good to involve residents and local community in tourism management and decision-making process, with its further implementation into a truly public-private-community approach,”

The roundtable was organised in partnership with the Centre for Information and Promotion in the Field of Tourism of the Republic of Moldova, the Agency for Investment and Development, the National Tourism Organisation of Ukraine.

mentioned Ivan Liptuga, President of the National Tourism Organisation of Ukraine.

More details about the program can be found on the UNDP Moldova website: www. md.undp.org, on Facebook: Poduri de încredere peste Nistru and OK platform: Мосты доверия через Днестр.

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EU FOR RURAL MOLDOVA INFORMATION CAMPAIGN: SUCCESS STORIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS SUPPORTED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION Within the information campaign „EU for Rural Moldova” starting with September 2021 and until the end of October, a series

of information events were organised about the financial assistance projects of the European Union and success stories.

The visits were carried out in the localities that benefited from EU assistance, namely: Micleușeni, Răzeni, Zorile, Cornești, Sipoteni, Ciorești, Ochiul Alb, Chetrosu, Sauca, Corpaci, Sărata Veche, Bădiceni, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Balabanul and Svetlîi.

of public buildings, support for small and medium enterprises, encouraging modern education.

Local residents had the opportunity to learn about the improvements in their communities thanks to the assistance provided by the European Union, namely increasing the competitiveness of the agrifood sector, modernising the supply and sanitation infrastructure, energy efficiency

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The information events were attended by representatives and beneficiaries of EU projects, Local Action Groups and local beneficiaries, as well as organisations implementing EU-funded projects. They discussed the directions of assistance and funding opportunities offered by Team Europe, in order to modernise the rural areas of the country.

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The visits are part of the „EU for Rural Moldova” information campaign, carried out within the European Union-funded project „Communication and visibility of EU assistance under the 2016 Annual Action Program.” The campaign aimed to reflect the changes made in rural areas with the support of the European Union and the its Member States.

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EU LAUNCHES NEW ‘MAYORS FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH FACILITY’ IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA Local authorities will benefit from new capabilities and access to funding to boost economic growth The European Union, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Moldova, kicked off the new Mayors for Economic Growth Facility (M4EG) in Moldova on 5 October 2021. The M4EG Facility will aim at boosting equitable and green development in the Eastern Partnership region, namely Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova, and Ukraine. While building on the successes and learning of the previous phase from 2017 to 2020, the new Mayors Facility seeks to introduce new innovative tools and practices to address current and future challenges of municipalities in the Eastern Partnership countries.

On 27 September, the EU and UNDP Moldova launched the new Call for Interest “Portfolios for municipal transformations” under the Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility. This Call for interest is open for acting members of the M4EG Initiative. More details on the selection process and eligibility are available here. To support the implementation of local economic plans, together with the EU, UNDP will introduce an approach that is currently being piloted within the organization, called a portfolio approach. This method builds on the assumption that the world is complex and operates through systems (e.g. the market, climate change, inequalities), and where no quick fixes or sing-point solutions will do the trick for positive sustainable change. The proposed method will support municipalities in

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building programmes that incorporate a systems lens, addressing challenges from multiple angles, designing initiatives that are coherent and connected, and practice agile and adaptive management.

Background: The Mayors for Economic Growth (M4EG) Facility is part of the M4EG initiative, launched and funded by the European Union since 2017. The M4EG Facility is run by UNDP, starting from 2021, in close cooperation with the EU, local authorities, and a range of other partners. Learn more about the Facility: https://www.m4eg.eu/ro/

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EU4BUSINESS-EBRD CREDIT LINE: SUPPORT FOR PASTRY MAKER IN MOLDOVA

Investment in modern technology puts icing on Panilino’s cake The Moldovan pastry company Panilino delivers on its promise to bring back childhood memories. Cakes, rolls, biscuits and traditional sweet bread – cozonacs – allow you to travel back in time to cosy family gatherings, conjuring up feelings of nostalgia and happy memories. Panilino has long won the hearts and taste buds of the Moldovan customers. Now the company is expanding its markets with support from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development and the

European Union. Its plan is to delight more people with its products and build a lasting legacy abroad too. Scaling up Panilino, a family business, began its journey in the 1990s and is now one of the largest manufacturers of bakery and confectionery products in Moldova. Quality has always been key. Every month the company produces more than 50 tonnes of confectionery, combining traditional recipes with high quality ingredients.

“It is the greatest privilege and responsibility to run a business that is beloved by so many. We try to stay ahead with new, forward-thinking plans, focus on quality and modern technology to make our production more efficient and our products famous beyond Moldova,” said Sergiu Guzun, Director of Panilino.

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The EBRD and EU have become firm partners through helping the company to invest in better technology, and to improve health, safety and environmental practices. Panilino is one of 250 companies in Moldova that benefited from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. The EBRD offers companies loans to modernise their production to bring them into line with EU standards. These loans, disbursed

via local partner financial institutions- in Panilino’s case, it was Mobiasbanca and are coupled with grants and technical assistance funded by the EU under its EU4Business initiative. Access to finance and new technology allows companies not just in Moldova, but also Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine, to aim for higher quality products and services, scale up and become greener, resilient and more competitive on local and international markets.

“After extensive research of the various SME credit offers available in Moldova, we decided in favour of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. The conditions of the credit line are very competitive, and the free-of-charge technical support and the grant component of the loan are truly helpful,” said Sergiu

During the overhaul of its production facility, Panilino purchased and installed a new confectionery production line, raw material handling and packaging equipment, transportation vehicles, refrigerator trucks and much more. The new equipment reduces heat, electricity and water consumption, ensures the delivery of high-quality products and creates a safe and healthy environment for employees.

Ireland, Italy and Latvia. The investment also led the company to hire more people: its workforce grew from 238 to 257 employees. “We increased our product range, improved product quality and significantly optimised our costs. And we do not plan to stop there. Eventually we want to have an even more solid footing in international markets and make Panilino a globally recognised brand,” noted Mr. Sergiu Guzun.

Investing for the future The results of the investment were immediate and best evidenced by numbers: productivity increased by 15 per cent, accompanied by boosted exports and new contracts signed with distributors from Austria, France, Germany,

With such determination, hard work and support from its partners, these goals will be more than achievable for Panilino, setting the company up for many years of success

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EU, EBRD AND SWEDEN SUPPORT MOLDOVA’S FIRST BLUEBERRY PRODUCER

Blueberries have become ubiquitous in recent years. Tasty, healthy and renowned for containing some of the highest levels of antioxidants among common fruit and vegetables, their indisputable merits led the EU, EBRD and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), to support Lolly Berry, the first blueberry producer in Moldova, with plans to increase production and expand the business to keep up with local demand. Since the turn of the millennium, consumer food trends have consistently favoured blueberries for their perceived health benefits. They have acquired superfood status and a prominent presence on supermarket shelves. Lolly Berry was founded in 2013 in response to demand for the fruits reaching the Moldovan market. According to current CEO, Tatiana Bordian-Balan, and co-founder and owner, Natalia Mursa, the company’s unique selling point is that most competitors import their berries from neighbouring countries, while Lolly Berry produces its own, at scale, at their blueberry plantation in Dolna village, in the Straseni region of Moldova.

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Cultivating expansion The company sought support from the EBRD Advice for Small Businesses programme on engineering a cold storage facility and producing a business development plan for investment and expansion. Tatiana says that because of our collaboration, they have “reached a new level of development in terms of production and sales, with plans to extend the existing harvesting area in order to meet the demand in the Moldovan market”. The company has eight full-time employees, and during the harvesting season, up to 20 temporary fruit pickers are employed: numbers that will increase as the business continues to grow and diversify. Lolly Berry also produces the healthy and versatile sea buckthorn: a uniquely flavoured orange berry packed with vitamin C and used in health supplements and food and drink flavourings. Tatiana is passionate about her business and keen to build on its success: “Blueberries and sea buckthorn are relatively new products to the Moldovan market. The assumed health benefits and growing popularity of these fruits makes producing them challenging but rewarding”, she said. A sentiment strongly shared among her staff. Challenges and the future Growing blueberries in Moldova is anything but routine, and a number of factors can affect the success of a crop. Blueberries can be fussy plants, requiring well-drained soil rich in acid, moisture and organic material to thrive. They are susceptible to drought, and low-quality water or soil can damage a harvest. To compensate for Moldova’s occasionally hostile climate conditions, the company will

soon apply US technology to create more favourable conditions for blueberries to grow. This includes cultivating them in greenhouselike tunnels above ground, creating a protected environment. The company currently produces three varieties of blueberries with slightly different taste and appearance, and different ripening times. As the harvesting period runs from June to August, Moldova has its own locallyproduced blueberries all summer long. The blueberry fields currently span 13 hectares, and the business plan developed with support from the EBRD includes the expansion of the harvested areas to keep up with the growing demand. Lolly Berry sells to the main Moldovan supermarket chains and also delivers directly to restaurants and consumers through the company website, its Facebook page, and at fairs across the country. Key to the business’s success, Tatiana believes that “in managing any company, it is important to have clear objectives, a sense of team spirit, and unwavering determination in the face of adversity”. A strong identity, playful branding and ambitious plans mean that as the popularity of the blueberry continues to soar in a market with little domestic competition, the future looks fruitful for Lolly Berry.

Interesting fact: One of only a handful of foods that are naturally blue in colour, the blueberry is abundant in anthocyanin. This compound is both the pigment and the source of the antioxidant, health enhancing, properties.

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GRANTS OFFERED BY THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP INITIATIVES

CONTACT Centre, in the framework of the project „EU4Youth - Unlocking the potential of young social entrepreneurs in Moldova and Ukraine” (EUnlocking), with the financial support of the European Union, announced a Call for grant proposals for young social entrepreneurs in Moldova. The „EUnlocking” project contributes to unlocking the social entrepreneurial potential of young people in Moldova and Ukraine by creating a conducive ecosystem to social enterprises, as well as inspiring and supporting more young social entrepreneurs to develop and implement their innovative solutions with the aim of promoting social inclusion and environmental sustainability in both countries. The project is funded by the European Union under its EU4Youth programme. The aim of the Call is to provide financial and technical support to social initiatives/ enterprises started or developed by young people in Moldova, aged between 18 and 35, who have innovative social service models or ideas with a clear social and environmental impact. Financial allocation provided by the project: The total indicative amount available under this Call for Proposals is 1.050.000 lei. More information about the project can be found at https://www.euneighbours.eu/en/ east/eu-in-action/youth/eunlocking

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EUROPEAN UNION AND ITS BANK, EIB, HELP BEEKEEPING SECTOR BECOME MORE PROFITABLE IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA

The European Investment Bank financed 1.2 million EUR of investments in beekeeping during the last 2 years, through Livada Moldovei Project.

In Moldova, beekeeping is an important subsector of the economy through the impact it has on pollinating arable and horticulture crops as well as through the honey it produces which is sold at more than 90% to the European market. Since 2016, the EU through the EIB made available a 120-million EUR credit line for entrepreneurs from the horticulture and

beekeeping subsectors. With this finance, beekeepers in Moldova can increase the number of beehives, improve processing and packing units and explore new sales directions. In 2020 and 2021, four companies benefitted from this programme investing altogether 1.2 million EUR into developing their beekeeping businesses.

Bees represent an important link in sustaining life on earth. They are renowned for providing high-quality food (honey, royal jelly and pollen) and other products used in healthcare and other sectors (beeswax, propolis, honey bee venom). However, the greatest contribution of bees and other pollinators is the pollination of nearly three quarters of all plant species.

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These plants produce 90% of the world’s food. Globally, almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of crops depend on bee pollination. With 20,000 bees of a single family swarming out of a hive several times a day, 20 million flowers or more are pollinated each day. In 2018, there were approximately 165,000 bee families in Moldova pollinating about 350,000 ha of agricultural land (of which 40% horticultural) which allowed for an increase of harvest by 20-30% translating into an annual value of beekeeping of over 35 million EUR. Currently, there are more than 7,800 beekeepers registered in Moldova. In 2020, about 3,500 tons of honey were produced and 3,300 tons were exported. More than 90% of the Moldovan honey reaches the European market, with Italy, France, Slovakia, Romania, Poland and Germany being the main customer countries.

he European Union (EU) is not just the main trading partner, but also the main financing external source for Moldovan beekeepers. The EU through the European Investment Bank (EIB) made available a credit line of 120 million EUR for horticulturists and beekeepers from Moldova. The programme is called Fruit Garden of Moldova (Livada Moldovei). It offers VAT and customs taxes exemption for all financed investments, long loan periods of up to 10 years, competitive interest rates and support at the application stage. Within the project, 59 million EUR can still be drawn until 2023. In 2020 and 2021 four companies with activities in beekeeping applied to Livada Moldovei totally taking investment loans of 1.2 million EUR. By this, they were able to become more competitive.

One of them is Mihai Curjos. He is a 30-years old entrepreneur managing a small beekeeping business in Larga Noua, Cahul. He is a thirdgeneration beekeeper, as his grandfather had beehives in the yard since 1970 and Mihai’s father followed in his grandfather’s footsteps. While they practiced beekeeping at an amateur level with 20-30 beehives, Mihai raised the business to 100 beehives, but in 2018 he decided to develop it to 200 beehives. Through the Livada Moldovei project, the entrepreneur benefitted from a loan of 10,000 EUR. With this money, he purchased 100 beehives and some equipment like a centrifuge for 42 frames, uncapping equipment and a wax melting machine.

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EU EXPERTISE FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE WALNUT SECTOR OF THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA The Republic of Moldova ranks 5th among the largest walnuts exporters, and in 2020, the volume of exports was 12.7 thousand tons. National and international experts believe that the country’s walnut sector is on the verge of important transformations, which could lead to increased production, quality and, consequently, to its increased competitiveness on international markets. The subject was discussed at the National Conference of Walnut Growers held in Chisinau.

79% of walnut exports go to EU countries, and the main importing countries are France, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania and Austria. Also, walnut cultivation accounts for 5% of horticultural exports and 50% of their monetary value. Walnut growers believe export volumes could increase further, from the current 120 million USD to 200 million USD.

“Today, the biggest opportunity that exists for this sector is the fact that we are in geographical proximity to the largest walnut importing area in the world, which is the European Union, representing almost 40% of the world’s total imports. We are on the EU border, with privileged relations, with an Association Agreement. We already enjoy a good relationship working with European importers, they trust our processors. Overall, a very close cooperation has been created and this is, in fact, the guarantee that those who make investments in the field are insured,” said the chairman of the Walnut Crops Association of Moldova, Oleg Tîrsînă.

Specialists believe that it would be necessary to expand the exported range of walnut products, pointing out that the Republic of Moldova has great potential in this regard, that can be exploited.

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“We don’t have much competition, our soils and how we work and the prices that are constantly rising - make us very optimistic about this industry’s future. We will also focus on solutions to subsidise this extremely important sector,” said Vladimir Bolea, Chairman of the Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Food Industry.

In the Republic of Moldova there are about 20 thousand hectares of walnut orchards, of which 15 thousand hectares, i.e. 75%, are old varieties. According to specialists, these orchards need modernisation to provide double yield and better quality of fruits. Pascal Gouget, one of the best European experts in the field, who was in the Republic of Moldova at the invitation of the Technical Assistance for the “Livada Moldovei” Project, financed by the European Union and the European Investment Bank, provided recommendations. Pascal Gouget recently made several visits to walnut orchards in the country and was able to talk to Moldovan growers.

from these loans with the total amount of investment projects worth 8.7 million EUR.

“The Government meeting approved the resumption of negotiations and the extension of the contract with the European Investment Bank with a balance of 60 million EUR for the modernisation of the horticultural sector. This credit allows us to ensure that farmers do not face financial shortcomings when implementing investments, while being facilitated by this instrument for intervention and payments in the sector,” said Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Viorel Gherciu.

“Growers are now more open about the changes they should make, and progress has been made in recent years,” noted Pacal Gouget.

According to specialists, 30-35% of the exported walnut production is from plantations, and the rest is from the orchards. For this reason, another recommendation is to produce walnuts in commercial plantations, as is the case for countries with a developed walnut sector. This requires significant investment, and the European Investment Bank’s Livada Moldovei credit line is one of the financing options. According to the project’s communications consultant Iurie Vîrlan, since the credit line was launched in 2016 and so far, 15 producers and processors of walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts have benefited

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Livada Moldovei is a credit line offered by the European Investment Bank, which became operational in 2016. Through it, loans are made available for investments in the horticultural sector. So far, 264 investment projects have been financed under the Livada Moldovei credit line, with an allocated amount of 57.3 million EUR.

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EU FRUIT GARDEN PROJECT SUPPORTS INVESTMENTS IN MODERN AGRICULTURE

A unique technology-based harvesting machine was imported from France and was put into operation in a Vulcanesti almond orchard. With the vibration-based harvesting machine, it is possible to harvest almonds from an area of 10 hectares in just 10 hours. Thus, while harvesting could previously take months, it now takes around 3 weeks.

“Harvesting technology consists of three parts. It has two machines for collection and a machine that functions on vibration. There are 8 types of vibration for younger, larger and extremely large trees. There are different vibration regimes that are intended to preserve the tree. We have made an effort to buy efficient, state-of-the-art machinery so that we can compete with producers on the foreign market, as the domestic market is small,” said Mariana Topciu, the cooperative’s commercial director.

Established in 2019, the Almonds Company cooperative from Comrat has brought together 6 almond producers, who together own 170 hectares of orchards located in the districts of Anenii Noi, Basarabeasca, Nisporeni, the municipality of Chisinau, as well as in ATU Gagauzia. In order to improve their work efficiency and to become more competitive on the domestic and foreign markets, producers have decided to invest in new technologies.

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The cooperative has received a loan of 410,000 EUR within the framework of the Livada Moldovei project, supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. Producers benefited from consultancy and were exempted from paying VAT and import duties on machinery.

60,000 EUR partly covered the purchase of the vibration harvesting machine. The remainder of the loan allowed the purchase of production machines for almond shelling (500 kg/hour), almond sorting machines (800 kg/hour) and flour production. Keen to grow and expand the list of products they supply, members of the cooperative are determined to join forces for better yields.

“Our cooperative is open to all producers, we are ready to help them because we ourselves have faced problems that we could not solve alone, but only by joining forces and reaching a new level, comparable to the European and American one,” stated Mariana Topciu.

The cooperative’s producers say that 80% of this year’s harvest will be exported to countries such as Romania, Italy, Ukraine and Iraq. According to official data, there are more than 20,000 hectares of walnut, hazelnut and almond orchards in the Republic of Moldova.

Since the launch of the Livada Moldovei credit line, more than 280 investment projects have benefited from EU funds provided through the European Investment Bank. There is currently a fund of around 60 million EUR to be made available to other beneficiaries in the framework of the Livada Moldovei project.

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EU4BUSINESS: INVESTMENT LOAN OF 28 MILLION EUR THROUGH EIB GUARANTEE FUND FOR MOLDOVAN LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS

123 Small and Medium-ized Enterprises from the Republic of Moldova have received 28 million EUR in loans, benefiting from 70% guarantees provided by the European Union through the European Investment Bank Group.

,Because of this guarantee facility, SMEs have been able to receive funding more easily. As a result, companies have been able to invest in machinery, construction and raw materials, benefiting from preferential interest rates, extended repayment periods and significantly reduced standard pledge requirements.

Damiagro SRL is a company that has been producing wheat, corn and sunflowers for more than 16 years. Throughout this time, the need to invest in machinery has been essential to increase production capacity.

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“Along the way, we understood that we need to attract external sources of financing in order to continuously develop and we have received some loans for the purchase agricultural machinery and equipment, which helps us to work with a modern soil processing technology, i.e. to obtain a quality product, to be more competitive on the market,” said Mihaela Belitei, Accountant at Damiagro SRL.

With the support of the European Union, through the European Investment Bank Group, the family business has been able to benefit from improved conditions when accessing loans, with less collateral being required. The EIB Group signed its first guarantee agreements with ProCredit Holding and its banks in 2017 to support loans worth 100 million EUR to SMEs in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. These guarantees were financed by the European Union through the Neighbourhood Investment Facility under the EU4Business initiative.

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DORINA TATARU, A 22-YEAR-OLD ENTREPRENEUR FROM PITUȘCA, STARTED A FARMING BUSINESS WITH SUPPORT FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION

Dorina Tataru, a 22-year-old from Pitușca, Calarasi district, returned after studying abroad to develop a farming business at home. It all started out from an unbridled desire to stay with her parents for as long as possible and to prove that business in Moldova can also be prosperous.

The young woman admits that the start of her farming business was quite difficult: „There were times when it was more complicated. In the beginning it was difficult, of course, we needed financing. In the beginning nobody offers you financing. There were a lot of things I didn’t know, everything seemed new to me, there was excessive bureaucracy.”

To turn her ideas into reality, Dorina Tataru needed help. “We took out a loan with the help of the ‘Livada Moldovei’ project. They supported us financially but also offered us advice on the development of the investment project. I found out about this project online, through media, and I had some acquaintances who have benefited from this project. That’s where the trust came from”, said the entrepreneur. However, before setting off, the young woman carefully studied the market, the banks’ proposals and other projects, and „Livada Moldovei” seemed to her the most attractive option because of the tax facilities it offers, the advice it provides and the support throughout the project: „Through this project we have purchased the support system for the cherry orchard, because for super-intensive orchards this is a very important aspect. Without the irrigation system and the support system it is not possible to achieve results.” After several months of hard work and dedication, the results have not been slow in coming. The young woman has already harvested the first peach crop. The „Livada Moldovei” is a project implemented with the support of the European Union through the European Investment Bank. Find out more information at the following link: https://youtu.be/OqvJ9rYfdoI

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ADVANTAGEOUS LOANS WORTH OVER 12.6 MILLION EUR PROVIDED BY EU THROUGH ITS BANK, EIB, FOR MOLDOVAN HORTICULTURISTS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF 2021

In 2021, horticulturists have made significant investments to streamline their work, to increase productivity and improve the quality of products delivered to the domestic and foreign markets. Thus, since the beginning of this year, 82 beneficiaries from all over

the country have received 84 loans, with an allocation of 12.6 million EUR, within the Livada Moldovei project, supported by the European Union through the European Investment Bank.

Most of the loans, 40.4%, went to apple producers. Table-grape producers received 22.6% of this year’s total amount of loans, and plum producers - 11.9% of loans. The most important investments were made for the production, processing and preservation of apples, receiving 34 loans with a total amount of 5,442,507 EUR. Table grape producers received 19 loans with a total value of 2,014,244 EUR. In addition, two investment projects in beekeeping amounted to 1,172,513 EUR. The lending map indicates that investments have been made in all corners of the country. The record is held by Briceni district, with 9 investment projects, 8 of which were oriented towards apple orchards. Next comes the rayon of Straseni with 7 investment projects in apiculture, apple and plum orchards, as well as in the production of table grapes. In Ialoveni district, 6 loans were accessed in 2021 within the Livada Moldovei project, and in Anenii Noi, Causeni, Edinet and Ocnita districts - 5 loans each.

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As hailstorm is a major risk for horticulture, 20 investment projects have been aimed precisely at procuring and installing hail protection systems. In order to avoid losses and to extend the shelf life of fruit and vegetables, 16 beneficiaries received loans for the installation of cold storages. Due to funding provided by the European Union through the European Investment

Bank, 11 horticulturists purchased irrigation systems, 7 invested in electric forklifts, 7 in orchard planting and 4 in the installation of photovoltaic panels, which allow producers to reduce electricity costs. Financial resources were also invested in fruit and vegetable drying facilities, raw materials sorting and processing lines and wastewater treatment plants.

Last year, the Livada Moldovei credit line financed projects worth 17.1 million EUR for 100 horticulturists across the country. At the same time, 6.6 million EUR was invested in horticultural laboratories and education. Livada Moldovei is a 120 million EUR credit line that supports activities across the entire agrifood value chain, from farmer training to harvesting. The programme is funded by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. More details on the benefits and opportunities of the Livada Moldovei project can be found here, https://livada-moldovei.md/.

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FRUIT GARDEN CREDIT LINE: UP TO 60 MILLION EUR MADE AVAILABLE FOR MOLDOVAN SMES Since the launch of the Livada Moldovei credit line, more than 280 investment projects have benefited from EU funds provided through the European Investment Bank. There is currently a fund of around 60 million EUR to be made available to other beneficiaries. This was announced today by the new Head of the European Investment Bank office in the Republic of Moldova, Alberto Carlei, during a meeting with journalists at Europe Café. Having recently arrived in Chisinau, Mr. Carlei presented the results of the European Investment Bank’s work in the Republic of Moldova.

Since the beginning of 2021, 82 beneficiaries of the Livada Moldovei credit line have received loans worth 12.6 million EUR.

„Livada Moldovei is a key operation of the European Investment Bank, which aims to support the private sector in Moldova. This credit line has contributed to the revitalisation of the horticultural sector and supported many small and medium-sized enterprises to better operate in the highly competitive and narrow Moldovan market, as well as helping them to diversify their export destinations,” said Alberto Carlei, Head of the European Investment Bank’s office in the Republic of Moldova. Also, Alberto Carlei mentioned that since 2007, the year in which the cooperation between the European Investment Bank and the Republic of Moldova began, 25 investment projects worth a total of about 800 million EUR have been implemented.

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These have covered several areas, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), education and research, the transport and energy sectors, as well as providing funds for the modernisation of the water and sewerage network.

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„The European Investment Bank will continue to implement its commitments in the Republic of Moldova by supporting the implementation of the EU Green Deal, increasing energy efficiency, continuing to finance strategic infrastructure projects in key sectors such as transport and waste management, digitising the Moldovan economy and supporting SMEs and the private sector,” stated Alberto Carlei.

The largest share of the total investment, made available by the European Union through the European Investment Bank, went to the transport sector, about 40%. The main purpose of the funding was the rehabilitation of the most important sections of national roads. At the same time, the European Investment Bank supported the purchase of 90 new trolleybuses in the municipality of Chisinau. More than 30% of the loan volume was made available to support SMEs. A significant share went to businesses in the horticulture and wine sectors.

The energy sector also received significant support - about 16% of the loan volume. The European Investment Bank has helped the Republic of Moldova diversify its energy sources, supporting projects such as the Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline and improving the reliability of Moldova’s power transmission system. While many projects have already been successfully implemented, there are important initiatives that are still ongoing, such as the Solid Waste Management Programme, the Chisinau Energy Efficiency Programme and the Power Interconnection Project with Romania.

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FRUIT GARDEN PROJECT: VINEYARD TECHNOLOGIES IN CĂINARI WILL TRIPLE HARVEST IN THE COMING YEARS On a hilltop, painstakingly tended by farmers from the „Agro-Căinari” Cooperative, a young vineyard grows and bears fruit. The first cuttings were planted in 2017. In the meantime, with the help of the Livada Moldovei project, carried out with the support of the European Union through the European Investment Bank, the farmers have ensured the planting with water and nutrients, and the vines harvest is planned accordingly.

For a better result and competitive grape quality, farmers decided to invest in a vineyard support system. They found help from the Livada Moldovei project, which was carried out with the support of the European Union through the European Investment Bank.

„We focused on a classic system, but seeing that other farmers are already one step ahead, we decided to go for the Pergola support. If in a classic system we are talking about 10-12 tonnes of harvest, here, although the investment is double or even triple, we are already talking about 30-45 tonnes per ha,” noted another founder of the cooperative, Roman Sava. The advantages farmers have found in the EU project led them to access such a loan again. „We had a really good collaboration and we decided to apply again the second year, because we saw that without irrigation we can’t go further. In 2021 we applied and got another support for irrigation,” said Valeriu Coțofană.

„The climate is favorable for us, the conditions are good, people are hardworking. It takes desire and material. But I think it is possible to farm in Moldova,” added Roman Sava. Find more information at the following link: https://youtu.be/nimFpbsVvTY .

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FRUIT GARDEN PROJECT: AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS DEVELOPED IN THE VILLAGE OF BAURCI MOLDOVENI

Cristina Marcenco is a 26-year-old young woman from the village of Baurci Moldoveni. In 2017, she decided to start an agricultural business. Initially, she had a plantation of one vineyard share, and today the young

woman owns 10 ha. Cristina admits that the work she has chosen is not an easy one, however, if you work hard, you can achieve beautiful results.

„I started the business from a one-share vineyard and I saw that it was very difficult to make it and the prices were very low and slowly, with my husband, we made a project in which we won funds from the European Union and with the help of Livada Moldovei our purchases were exempted from VAT because it was very expensive to bring in the country panels, appliances”, said Cristina Marcenco. With the help of the „Livada Moldovei” project, Cristina received a loan of about 34,000 EUR. The money was made available by the European Union through the European Investment Bank. More information about Cristina’s story can be found here: https://youtu.be/rZGHrV1Vw-4

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FRUIT GARDEN PROJECT: THE SUCCESS STORY OF A FAMILY FARMING BUSINESS IN EDINET A farming business can also be a family business. One such example is the Scutaru family from Edinet. In 2003, they decided to embark on this adventure, registering the peasant farm „Scutaru Victor”. Initially they started with a few dozen hectares, and today they have reached 100 hectares. Scutaru Victor, the head of the peasant farm, described the way the family business works and how the credits accessed through „Livada Moldovei” helped him to develop this agricultural business. To find out more about details about the story behind his business, please access the video at the following link: https://youtu.be/FLMlAkPVwOI

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FRUIT GARDEN PROJECT: AGRI-TOURISM PENSION IN THE HEART OF THE “CODRI” RESERVE An agritourism pension will open in the near future in the heart of the “Codri”. Tatiana Mali’s love for her homeland and her desire to help develop the economy led her to bring this idea to life. The entrepreneur says she wants to attract tourists not only with good food, but also with heritage sites worth discovering.

“Transposing the agropension plan from paper to reality requires investment,” said Tatiana Mali. Because personal resources proved insufficient, the entrepreneur decided to turn to Livada Moldovei, a project supported by the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the Moldovan government Tatiana also added „Without a loan you don’t make it, whether we want it or not we end up reaching a credit line. We have analysed several projects, loans that banks offer and analysing it, our attention was caught by the credit line of the Livada Moldovei project.”

For more information, please visit https://youtu.be/1pKnoeT2AxY

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FRUIT GARDEN PROJECT: MODERN IRRIGATION SYSTEM IN HAGIMUS, CAUSENI RAYON Timofei Novac has dedicated four decades to agriculture. With hard work and investment, he managed to create and expand his own peasant farm in Hagimus, with vines, plums, peaches and apricots. Recently, with the support of the European Union through the European Investment Bank, the farmer has accessed money to irrigate the orchards. The harvest is expected to match the investment.

„From the beginning we have been dealing with vines, technical varieties. Then the grapeprocessing companies switched to their plantations and we also had to grub up and plant table grapes. During this period, we grubbed up many orchards, renovated them, bought more land and reached 35 ha. I think that’s where we stop,” noted Timofei Novac. The annual harvest is exported. In order to be competitive and meet the demand on the foreign market, the farmer decided to invest in an irrigation system. He saw his plan come to fruition thanks to the Livada Moldovei project, with the support of the European Union through the European Investment Bank.

From his farming experience, Timofei Novac estimates that he annually collects up to 10 tons of table grapes. With irrigation, the harvest should increase to 15 tonnes. The farmer continues to invest in the quality and quantity of the grown fruits. He relies on farmer support projects, but on the family support too.

„Farming is a risky process. But our family survives because of farming. Elsewhere we don’t work. The wife is an agronomist by profession, the children economists, engineers, but we all got involved and work with the hoe,” said the producer. More information can be found on the following link: https://youtu.be/3gbXpfGTriM

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EU SUPPORT TO AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND FOOD SAFETY IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA – PROGRESS RESULTS In September and October 2021, the Twinning Project „Further support to Agriculture, Rural Development and Food Safety in the Republic of Moldova” has implemented 7 physical, 1 remote, and 2 hybrid missions with the participation of 25 different short term experts from Austria, Poland and Lithuania. In order to further support the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industry (MAFI) in the development of the future National Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (NARDS 2030) the Twinning experts from Austria and Poland worked on reviewing the draft of NARDS and the sectorial indicators. The aim was to ensure that the EU guidelines and standards are incorporated as well as providing recommendations.

Source: Publications office of the European Union

Other two teams of experts further updated the proposed Monitoring and Evaluation system against the current practice of reporting and continued with the ex-ante evaluation of the NARDS 2030, part 3. The existing measures, the prepared and planned sector programs, the RD program, LEADER, etc. were analysed with respect

to consistency and potential impact on Agriculture and Rural Development in Moldova. The gathered information, conclusions and recommendations were synthetized in reports shared with beneficiaries. Together with the Agency for Interventions of Payments in Agriculture’s (AIPA) experts and PL Solidarity Fund, the LEADER system in Moldova was discussed. The various documents needed to be developed for the implementation of LEADER (procedures, handbooks, forms, templates etc.) were identified and their elaboration was initiated. The Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) is another priority for the project and the beneficiaries. During this period, the last mission under activity on the topic on „Road map on IACS implementation in Moldova” took place. A high-level seminar was organised during which the experts presented the essential points of the elaborated roadmap to the top management of AIPA and MAFI as well as to representatives of the Ministry of Finance, National Public Service Agency, Delegation of the European Union and potential donors. The Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) is another priority for the project and the beneficiaries. During this period, the last mission under activity on the topic on „Road map on IACS implementation in Moldova” took place. A high-level seminar was organised during which the experts presented the essential points of the elaborated roadmap to the top management of AIPA and MAFI as well as to representatives of the Ministry of Finance, National Public Service Agency, Delegation of the European Union and potential donors.

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Two teams of experts from Poland and Austria conducted the first accreditation audit in AIPA according to Annex I Regulation 907/2014. As AIPA is not an EU paying agency, the idea of the audit was to

get an objective assessment of the current situation in the institution. An audit report was elaborated where the main findings were summarized, the weaknesses were pointed out and recommendations were provided.

In the end of October, a team of experts from AIPA participated in a study visit in Poland. The Polish Agency for Restructuring and Modernization of Agriculture (ARMA) shared their knowledge and good practices during a number of workshops and presentations in the fields of internal audit, software development, cybersecurity, LEADER approach, IACS, etc. The AIPA experts also benefited from observing the on-spot situation during a one-day field trip. The

experts had the opportunity to get insight from the beneficiaries of the subsidies provided by ARMA and find out more about their feedback regarding the procedures and their experiences. This knowledge remains to be integrated in AIPA’s general activities and further development and implementation of LEADER. The hosting experts shared details and templates with the Moldovan experts, and pointed out their readiness to provide guidelines whenever needed.

During September-October 2021, the Twinning project organised a study visit of ANSA (National Agency for Food Safety) and CRDV Laboratory (Republican Center for Veterinary Diagnosis) experts to Lithuania.

The study visit consisted of important meetings with the experts from the State Food and Veterinary Service (SFVS) of the Republic of Lithuania who shared their experience on official control of the food

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safety and veterinary system in Lithuania. SFVS also provided the key points related to the export issues on poultry meat and eggs. The priority of the Republic of Moldova is to open the export of animal origin products to the European Union. During the study exchange, four visits were organised to establishments with different areas of activity (broiler farm, slaughterhouse, poultry products, fish, egg products, and bakery products production establishments). The experts from ANSA were interested in the Border inspection control and they visited one of the biggest Border inspection post. The ANSA experts were interested, as well in veterinary certificates for animal products which are issued within the country. In this respect, they would like to implement some changes and simplify the procedure for food business operators. The visits paid by the representatives of ANSA to the National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute of Lithuania covered the areas of implementation and accreditation of the methods performed on LC/MS/MS for residues in live animal and animal origin products. The experts from Republican Center for Veterinary Diagnosis got experience on methods for residue of chemical substances detection, review of the validation /verification criteria of screening methods and confirmation methods, calculation methods, planning and reporting.

The visit to the broiler farm and slaughterhouse provided the opportunity to see an example how the self-control monitoring programs in the area of animal health and food safety are implemented based on EU requirements. The visit to the establishment producing egg products helped to see a good example related to the manner the possibilities are valued and the manner of their future implementation in Republic of Moldova. ANSA experts stated that the Study Visit was a fruitful one in terms of seeing the implementation of EU Regulation and Standards put in place in Lithuania. The Twinning project organized a mission in October to strengthen the capacities of Republican Center for Veterinary Diagnostic (CRDV) and reviewed the microbiology laboratory activities accreditation status, quality management, facilities and environmental conditions, reception of samples, samples storage conditions. The experts from the National Food and Veterinary Risk Assessment Institute of Lithuania shared their experiences on methods of detection pathogenic microorganisms such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes in products of animal origin. ANSA and CRDV thanked the Lithuanian experts for their support provided to achieving the requested compliances and the implementation of the European Union standards. More information about the project is available on this link: https://www.facebook. com/organicisgood

Source: Publications office of the European Union

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EU4MOLDOVA FOCAL REGIONS PROGRAMME: MODERN EQUIPMENT FOR AN AUTHENTIC BLACKSMITHING COMPANY IN CAHUL, A BENEFICIARY OF EU SUPPORT Cătălina and Victor Pascal from the Village of Zîrnești, Cahul district, turned their passion for working with iron into business. Victor is one of the few blacksmiths who still forges this metal using a coal furnace. The craft is nothing like easy, requiring lots of dedication, attention to detail, logic, and sense of beauty. His spouse, Cătălina, handles the creative part of the work as well as the management and promotion of the workshop. Their work is appreciated not only in Cahul and the neighboring districts of Cantemir, Leova, and Vulcănești, but also overseas. Some pieces even reached as far as France and Russia, being ordered by Moldovans settled abroad. This year, the Pascal family have won a European grant worth 15,000 EUR. With this money and their own contribution of 2,330 EUR, they purchased four high-performance equipment that will help them to optimize production and create original items. The grant was awarded with the European Union’s financial assistance as part of the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme, implemented by UNDP and UNICEF.

“Not everyone who welds metal parts is a blacksmith” In a workshop full of tools and equipment, Victor Pascal crafts gates, fences, railings, entrance doors, and other pieces of ironwork. He starts working early in the morning and puts lots of dedication and passion into his craft.

The woman—a teacher by profession— admits that it took her several years before she decided to venture into this business: “Ironwork is considered to be a craft for men, rather than women. It wasn’t easy, but now I can say I love it, and I am ready to bring the business to a new level.”

“Not everyone who welds metal parts is a blacksmith. This work requires precision, attention to details and aesthetic taste,” said Victor. He learned the craft of forging iron in childhood, from his father, who grew up among the Roma community and learned this art from them. His spouse, Cătălina, has been with him for almost ten years, eventually taking over the management, design, and marketing parts of the business. “I take orders, do customer relations, set delivery deadlines and handle the financial part of our business,” added Cătălina.

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We have never received anything for free before A few months ago, the Pascals became confident that this craft could become a real business: “For two years we’ve worked under a business license, and in February 2021, we incorporated our business as a limited liability company. So far, we worked only with individuals, but now our customers include legal entities too,”

In 2021, the couple became one of the beneficiaries of the EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme, winning a 15,000 EUR grant. “One evening a friend came to visit us and told us about this program. I couldn’t believe there was such a thing! We’d never received anything for free,”

Cătălina proudly stated.

Cătălina explained.

As a beneficiary of the business grants program, under the startup category, they received a grant, and adding 2,330 EUR of their own contribution, purchased four modern equipment, namely a cold metal stamping machine, a bending machine with wrought-iron rollers, an electric tube bending machine with a die, and a threephase air compressor. The equipment will increase the precision and quality of the works and will also optimize the cost and time of production.

“These machines will save us time. If previously it would take two weeks to make a gate, now we can complete the same work in just one week,” added Victor.

The new equipment - provided with the EU financial assistance - has recently arrived at the workshop in Zîrnești and makes the family optimistic and confident of their potential to grow. The couple wants to open a small store to sell stamped and twisted-metal items to other blacksmiths. They also plan to enter the market with a new product - entrance doors.

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A MOLDOVAN SETTLED IN FRANCE HAS ENTRANCE DOORS PRODUCED IN CAHUL The Pascals’ workshop is one of the few in the country that still preserves the tradition of forging metal in a coal furnace, where every single piece of work is one hundred percent handmade. Cătălina draws a sketch, the design of the piece, and Victor makes the work come true. “Some customers are surprised, or even amazed by our work. We are an authentic smithy. Not a single element of decor is commercial off-the-shelf product,” noted the woman.

Sometimes their customers come with photos, and they faithfully reproduce the model. “ The time that goes into a piece of work depends on its complexity, we have gate models that can take more than a month,” pointed out Victor. The Pascals’ workshop is one of the few in the country that still preserves the tradition of forging metal in a coal furnace, where every single piece of work is one hundred percent handmade. Cătălina draws a sketch, the design of the piece, and Victor makes the work come true.

“Our customers are not only from Cahul and the neighbouring districts of Cantemir or Vulcănești, but also from abroad. For instance, once we received an order for entrance doors from a man who then took them to France. We also had an order from Russia,” added Cătălina. Artistic ironworking retains its popularity and value thanks to imaginative pieces produced in smithies. Each piece of ironwork has its own uniqueness, and Victor and Cătălina are among the few craftspeople remaining in the Republic of Moldova who keep the old traditions of ironworking. The couple is one of the 28 beneficiaries of the 2020 edition of the grants program for businesses from the focal regions of Ungheni and Cahul. Altogether, 16 established companies, 10 start-ups, and 2 social entrepreneurship initiatives have received grants worth 15,000 EUR to 30,000 EUR each

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A new call for applications from entrepreneurs based in the Districts of Ungheni and Cahul, launched as part of the 2021 edition, closed in June, and the submitted applications are now under the final evaluation phase. The

total amount of grants that the program expects to award to businesses from the regions of Cahul and Ungheni from 2020 through 2024 is estimated at 1.7 million EUR.

*** The EU4Moldova: Focal Regions Programme (2019 – 2024) supports intelligent, inclusive, and sustainable social-economic development in the regions of Cahul and Ungheni to ensure a better quality of life for citizens. The program has a total budget of 23 million EUR and is financed by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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TOYS OF NATURAL TEXTILES ARE MANUFACTURED IN UNGHENI, WITH THE FINANCIAL SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION THROUGH EU4MOLDOVA: FOCAL REGIONS PROGRAMME In Ungheni, in Cristina Lupu’s workshop, future friends of babies and children are crafted. Cristina Lupu, the creator of Bubulino brand, conquers hearts of the children with toys made of natural, hypoallergenic textiles, which may be easily part of a fairy-tale invented by kids. In 2021, thanks to a European grant, Cristina Lupu buys equipment to develop her business: a zigzag sewing machine, toy filling equipment, specialized furniture, and others necessary for toy manufacturing. Thus, half-automation of the production will be possible, as well as the improvement of quality, development of new toy models and not least – creation of two new jobs. The grant in the amount of 18,367 EUR was offered with the financial support of the European Union within the EU4Moldova: Focal regions Programme, implemented by UNDP and UNICEF.

Toys with personality, manufactured from natural textiles

several businesses of handmade toys and for the rest – a market full of imported products.”

The elephant was the first toy model manufactured in Cristina Lupu’s workshop. The toy, made of cotton, pleasant to touch, of beige color, catches the eye, with its chic aspect: “Our workshop is the place where we create friends for children. We create personalities with which children will gather memories and live adventures, we create memories for generations.” The idea of developing her own brand came in 2017. At that time Cristina was 25, she was on maternity leave, and she felt the need to create something beautiful and unique. “For several years my husband and I launched a toy store in Ungheni, and I have taken over the management of the business. As time passed, I understood that I didn’t want to just sell foreign toys, I wanted to create my own, original toys. The market research showed that we had few textile toys made in Moldova:

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Cristina Lupu looked for ways to develop her idea and for funding opportunities, she developed a business plan, found a niche on the market and left room for a lot of creativity to bring to life some unique toys. And so, since 2019 she started to manufacture soft toys of natural materials, under the Bubulino brand name “Our toys (elephants, bunnies, mice) are made of natural textiles, they are non-allergenic, have clothes with embroideries and detachable accessories”. She has always liked handicrafts, but she admited she did not dare to pursue this. “I studied journalism at the University, but I always liked handicrafts, and everything related to creativity. Maybe this comes from my family, my grandmother is still sewing national blouses, towels, tablecloths,” noted Cristina.

Toy making requires a lot of patience Three people work in Cristina’s workshop, but in the future the number of employees will increase to up to five. The entrepreneur says that her main challenge is to find dedicated people with whom she could build a team

“It is very difficult to find the right people, they should have a lot of patience and dedication. Now the process of filling the toys is manual, it is very meticulous takes a lot of time,” added the creator of Bubulino.

Thanks to the grant offered within the EU4Moldova: Focal regions Programme, in the amount of 18,367 EUR, and to her own contribution of 2,570 EUR, the entrepreneur bought new equipment which will soon be in her shop and will allow her to diversify and half-automatize the production.

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“Thanks to the EU4Moldova: Focal regions Programme we bought a zigzag sewing machine which will allow us to make decorations on the clothes, furniture for the distribution of our toys, maintenance equipment, as well as equipment to fill the toys – the filling is done manually now, and this is a very thorough process”. With these purchases, Cristina Lupu will be able to bring her business to a new level, she will optimize the production process and will enlarge the range of goods.

Cristina Lupu is one of the 28 beneficiaries of the grant programme for the business sector in the focal regions of Ungheni and Cahul, 2020 edition. 16 existing companies, 10 startups and 2 social entrepreneurship initiatives benefited from grants in the amount of 15,000 – 30,000 EUR each. A new call for grants for the entrepreneurs of Ungheni and Cahul regions, 2021 edition, finalised in June, the proposals being now at the final assessment stage. The total value of the grants dedicated for the business environment in Cahul and Ungheni regions, which shall be offered during 2020-2024 within the Programme, is of approximately 1.7 million EUR

“I recharge emotionally from my clients’ feedback” For now, Bubulino toys are sold in two stores in Ungheni, but Cristina Lupu also intends to sell them in Chisinau. According to the developer, many orders are placed online, as the brand has a profile on social media. The Bubulino items may be customized by embroidering the name of the child on the toy – this is attractive for many parents who want to make a unique gift to their kids. Cristina Lupu plans to enlarge the collection of toys by adding new models, to diversify the colours and, why not, to launch some new products for babies. The developer of Bubulino recognizes that the positive feedback of her clients is lifting her motivation and helps her maintain the enthusiasm and work with dedication on her project.

“I still recharge emotionally from the feedback of my clients, it is an absolute pleasure when those who buy something come back and tell us how soft the toy is, how much they like the quality. The appreciation of our clients makes us follow the quality standards and not least, validates our product,” highlighted Cristina.

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*** “EU4Moldova: focal regions” Programme (2019-2024) supports intelligent, ecological, inclusive and sustainable social-economic development in the regions of Cahul and Ungheni, to provide to the citizens a better quality of life, the programme has a total budget of 23 million EUR, is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). You can find more details about the Programme activities in Cahul and Ungheni regions at www.EU4Cahul.md and www.EU4Ungheni.md.

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ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT EUROPEAN CLIMATE DIPLOMACY AND EUROPEAN SUSTAINABLE ENERGY WEEK 2021 – MARKED IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA Two initiatives dedicated to climate, renewables and efficient energy use in Europe took place in this year in September and October, both marked in the Republic of Moldova, as well, via an online information campaign, as an opportunity to foster dialogue and cooperation on climate change, display success stories and inspire further action.

From 27 September to 17 October 2021, the European Climate Diplomacy focused on zero pollution and toxic-free environment. This initiative was marked in the Republic of Moldova by showing the commitment of the European Union towards climate neutrality and resilience as well as environmental sustainability. The tangible results of EU funded projects implemented across the country contribute to a healthier environment, a better quality of air and water, for the benefit of the citizens.

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Further on, the 16th edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week under the theme: ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System’ was officially marked between 25-29 October, but due to the wide range of events and information campaign dedicated to this initiative, EUSEW lasted beyond the initially announced timeframe. EUSEW 2021 brought efficient energy in the spotlight. Promoting clean, secure and renewable energy sources remain a key priority for EU support to the Republic of Moldova.

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Results of EU funded projects in this sector, implemented in partnership with EU Member States, are visible in many localities and regions of the Republic of Moldova. They bring better conditions to children in kindergartens and pupils in schools, as well as involve and develop the capacities of local authorities. Efficient use of energy and a careful approach towards nature and surrounding environment will ensure a healthier future for children and future generations, hence the awareness raising initiatives of this caliber is crucial for setting positive example for community members to reflect upon daily improvements, such as saving energy, reusing materials, recycling and so on.

The EU Sustainable Energy Week 2021 was also joined by the Agency of Energy Efficiency in the Republic of Moldova. The Agency organised an information campaign on show-casing energy efficiency projects funded by the European Union and published several video spots aimed at informing the public about the benefits of adopting an environmentally friendly lifestyle. All events and initiatives dedicated to the European Climate Diplomacy and the EU Sustainable Energy Week were disseminated in the mass media and dedicated social media channel: https://www.facebook.com/EU-SustainableEnergy-Week-in-Moldova-245974492193122

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EU4ENVIRONEMNT: INTER-MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE ON GREEN ECONOMY ORGANISED IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA The Meeting of the Inter-ministerial Working Group on Sustainable Development and Green Economy took place on 10 September 2021, with the participation of the National Implementation Committee of EU4Environment project in the Republic of Moldova, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Economy. The main objectives of the meeting were to present the final evaluation of the implementation of the Programme on the promotion of Green Economy for 2018-2020 and recommendations for the development of the new program for 2022-2027; present the information paper on the EU Green Deal and the state of the green transition in the Republic of Moldova; present the updated Green Growth Indicators (GGIs) for Moldova and

new indicators; present the current state of the implementation of EU4Environment in Moldova in 2021 (with contribution/ presentation from Implementing Partners); present the detailed workplans for the last 4 months of 2021 and general activity plans for 2022 (with contribution/ presentation from Implementing Partners) including the planned EU4Environment regional events; and present the country workplan for the Result 4 for 2021-2022.

The meeting took place in virtual format and was moderated by Ms Iordanca-Rodica Iordanov, State Secretary, Ministry of Environment.

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THE FIRST CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY WAS INAUGURATED IN FEȘTELIȚA WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION The inauguration event of the Centre of Excellence in Energy Efficiency within the project “Creating the centre of excellence in energy efficiency by piloting new technologies for demonstrating renewable energy sources in the village of Feștelița” took place on 13 October 2021 in the context of European Climate Diplomacy Week and European Sustainable Energy Week 2021. Feștelița, located in Ștefan Vodă district, has become the first energy intelligent locality in the Republic of Moldova, with the support of the European Union. Thus, the community benefits of an additional source of income for the local people.

The Centre of Excellence in Energy Efficiency in the locality of Feștelița, created with the financial support of the European Union, is the only one in the Republic of Moldova. The centre consists of 10 types of demonstration sub-projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy: smart street lighting, photovoltaic park, on-grid panels, biomassbased boiler rooms, solar collectors. Such type of flagship project contributes to building a secure energy future and similar achievements are part of the top agenda of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), which take place annually all over Europe. Moreover, current year activities of EUSEW take place under the theme ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System’.

“The creation of the Centre for Excellence on Energy Efficiency in Festelita village, with the support of the European Union, is an outstanding example of combining energy efficiency and green renewable energy locally produced. This integrated approach showcases the benefits of engaging with a green transition, which will ensure better quality of life for the citizens, more resources available for the local budget and at the same time will help addressing climate change and energy security. This initiative is also attracting further investments from international partners, such as Nordic Environment Finance Corporation or Global Environment Facility. We are glad to see that the support of the European Union created the opportunity for such a successful initiative,” said Jānis Mažeiks, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Moldova.

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The centre represents, at the country level, a model for exchange of good practices in this field. Thus, with the financial support of the European Union, Feștelița became the first smart energy village in the country, with 4 buildings of local public institutions corresponding to the nZEB label (buildings with almost zero energy consumption), and Feștelița mayoralty - the first local public authority which manages a photovoltaic park. All of the 3,000 locals in Feștelița enjoy better conditions for living, education and work.

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The community annually produces electricity of about 384 MWh / year and records energy savings of about 647h MW / year and over 1,000,000 lei, as profit in the local budget. Thanks to the European Union, the village of Feşteliţa obtains an additional source of income from which the local population of Feştelița benefits. The mayor of Feşteliţa, Tudoreanu, mentioned:

Nicolae

“Excellence in Energy Efficiency - this is what we wanted to achieve in Feşteliţa and to prove that it can be possible in the villages of the Republic of Moldova. Together with the community, we overcame the existing stereotypes and with the financial support of the European Union, Feşteliţa village switched to eco energy. At first glance, it seemed a difficult goal to achieve, but not for us.” The guests and participants at the inauguration event visited various types of state-of-the-art energy efficiency infrastructure implemented in Feşteliţa, namely within the premises of the mayor’s office, kindergarten, gymnasium and the local centre of culture, benefiting the population of the village. The Centre of Excellence from the village of Feștelița, in Ștefan Vodă district, was created within the project “Creation of the centre of

excellence by piloting new technologies demonstrating energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in the village of Feștelița.” The project is implemented by Feşteliţa mayoralty, in partnership with the Public Association ‘Social Innovation Fund of Moldova’, with the financial support of the European Union, within the Programme „Covenant of Mayors - Demonstration Projects.”

The inauguration event is available on the YouTube channel of the Delegation of the European Union: https://youtu.be/5Mb5mSN4IKU

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Background information About the Centre of Excellence in Festelița, r. Ștefan Vodă The total cost of the project is 800,000 EUR, of which 500,000 EUR was a grant offered by the European Union, and 300,000 EUR was the national and local contribution through the Energy Efficiency Agency, Ştefan Vodă District Council, Feşteliţa Local Public Administration and people in the Feștelița village. These investments contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions, by 465 tons / year, which is 52% less compared to 2011. This official commitment made to the Convention of Mayors for Climate and Energy, signed in 2013, was honoured by the village Feşteliţa.

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About the EU Sustainable Energy Week 2021 The EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) – the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe – is back for its 16th edition. Organized by the European Commission, EUSEW 2021 will take place on 25-29 October 2021 under the theme: ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System’. On EUSEW occasion, various communities host events to foster dialogue and cooperation on climate change, showcase success stories and inspire further action. For more information, please access: www.eusew.eu

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WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, ABOUT 37,000 CITIZENS FROM FALESTI AND DROCHIA BENEFIT FROM IMPROVED WATER SUPPLY SERVICES

On 20 October 2021, the European Union funded projects on improving water supply services (WSS) were inaugurated in Falesti and Drochia. The aim of these projects implemented by the North Regional Development Agency (RDA) in cooperation with the EU-funded project „Modernisation of Local Public Services in the Republic of Moldova” is to provide the inhabitants of Falesti and Drochia with improved water supply services. The total value of the project „Improving Water Supply services in the Falesti town”

is 35.87 million lei, of which 32.56 million lei - granted by the European Union, and 3.30 million lei - local contribution. 16,450 inhabitants of Falesti will benefit from drinking water supply services. The total value of the project „Improving Water Supply services in the Drochia town” is 91.73 million lei, of which 85.25 million lei - granted by the European Union, and 6.47 million lei - local contribution. 20,295 inhabitants of Drochia will benefit from drinking water supply services.

The inauguration events of the projects of improving water supply services in the cities of Falesti and Drochia are part of the series of events organized by the North RDA in the context of the Northen Development Region Days, 7th edition. The investment measures „Improving water supply services in the Falesti town” and „Improving water supply services in the Drochia town” are financed by the European Union and implemented by the North RDA and the project „Modernization of Local Public Services in the Republic of Moldova” (MSPL). The MSPL project is funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and it is implemented by GIZ Moldova in partnership with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the Republic of Moldova.

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LAUNCH OF GREEN GROWTH INDICATORS (GGIS) IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA EU4Environment has launched the project on updating the national set of the Green Growth Indicators in the Republic of Moldova. EU4Environment has launched the project on updating the national set of the green growth indicators in the Republic of Moldova. This work aims to develop an independent monitoring report on progress of the Republic of Moldova towards green growth. It will contribute to the preparation of the new Action Plan for the Programme on the promotion of green economy for the years 2022-2027 and the development of the Environmental Strategy till 2030 by demonstrating the achievements and gaps in green economy promotion in the country and drawing a baseline for the next implementation period. This project is based on the work done earlier under the EU-funded “EaP GREEN” project (2013-18), under which the OECD supported Moldova in developing a set of national Green Growth Indicators to provide a monitoring basis for the Road Map on Green Economy Promotion in Moldova. The result of this work was the preparation of a report “Measuring the performance of green economic development in the Republic of Moldova”, published in 2017. The repot it is developed by “Expert-Grup” Independent Think-Tank, will be in consultations and published by the end of 2021. The OECD-based green growth indicators monitor progress towards four objectives: i) establishing a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy; ii) maintaining the natural asset base; iii) improving people’s quality of life; and iv) implementing appropriate policy to realize the economic opportunities of green growth.

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Being updated, this list will serve as a basis for assessing the current situation regarding the promotion of the green economy in our country and will be a new starting point for charting the measures of the green transition, including performance indicators from the Program on Promotion of Green Economy for 2022- 2027. The elaboration of this policy document is included in the Government Activity Plan for 20212022, and its elaboration will take place in synergy with the elaboration of the Environmental Strategy 2030. At the same time, it is important to ensure continuity and transparency in collecting, periodically updating and presenting indicators, accessible to the general public on the pages of the responsible institutions. The institutional framework must be clearly established for the indicators that are collected, but also for those that require calculations and analytical evaluation.

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WASTE MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY ARE PROMOTED IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA WITH EU SUPPORT EU4Environment provided support for the development of the National Program on Waste Management in the Republic of Moldova, in which the provisions on circular economy and climate change adaptation in waste sector are integrated.

Under EU4Environment’s component 2.4 “Use of strategic approaches to waste management” UNEP supports countries in elaboration of the strategic and policy documents in the field of improvement of the waste management. Specifically, under EU4Environment’s component 2.4, UNEP assists the Republic of Moldova in the elaboration of the National Waste Management Programme (NWMP). The draft NWMP in the Republic of Moldova, envisaged to be implemented during the

period of 2022-2027, is being developed with a view to implement the Government’s Action Plan for 2021-2022. The Programme will contribute to the achievement of the objective of „the development by 2027 of an integrated waste management system, economically efficient and ensuring the protection of the environment and the health of the population”, and achieving the main indicators of sustainable development included in the National Development Strategy Moldova 2030.

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The draft Programme has the main goal to improve waste management practices, in particular, municipal waste, identified as the most critical point in the field of environmental protection and promote circular economy, namely: ◊ Enhancing the separate collection of particular waste in the municipal waste stream; ◊ Increasing the recovery level of recyclable materials, including waste covered by the extended producer responsibility; ◊ Establishing of a municipal waste collection infrastructure to help reduce the amount of waste landfilled and establishing an appropriate treatment system for each type of waste in order to protect the environment; ◊ Promoting measures to reduce waste generation and reasonable use of waste material and energy resources, thereby reducing the use of natural and other resources and waste disposal in landfills.

This work is complimented by the regional UNEP activities within EU4Environment on the promotion of the Extended Producer Responsibility at the regional level for all 6 EaP countries, including the Republic of Moldova.

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CITIZENS OF EIGHT LOCALITIES FROM THE SOUTH REGION OF MOLDOVA COLLECT THE WASTE MORE ORGANISED The members of the civic action groups from eight localities of Stefan Voda, Cimislia and Causeni rayons, in partnership with the local public administration, were actively involved in a communication and awareness raising campaign on waste management and the challenges faced by all the actors in this sector. Among the main activities carried out within two projects implemented by the Centre for Sustainable Development „Rural-21” were peer to peer communication with citizens and questioning the degree of satisfaction with waste management, actions of practical testing of garbage collection in localities, the installation of surveillance cameras for landfills, as well as the installation of social advertising totems in public places, through which the waste problem will be permanently in people’s attention.

Also, within the implemented projects, the Guide on the elaboration of local waste management plans was prepared, which responds to many challenges in the field of waste management, including lack of solutions at national level, constant increase of accumulated waste volume, low level of awareness of negative effects on the environment, low degree of participation in the management of public affairs, the burden of sustainability of a service created in communities. The Guide contains participatory education actions for citizens and legal steps on the creation and management of the waste disposal service.

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The Centre for Sustainable Development „Rural-21” is a beneficiary of the EU Local Grants Programme and has implemented the project „Good managers in the yard – good managers in the village - we collect garbage, more organised” in the villages Stefanesti, Volintiri, Copceac, Marianca de Jos and Talmaza from Stefan Voda rayon, and the project “Together we make the villages cleaner” in the villages Selemet, Cimișlia rayon, Taraclia, Causeni rayon, and Antonesti, Stefan Voda rayon.

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The Local Grants Programme was launched on the basis of the Single Support Framework of the European Union (EU), to the Republic of Moldova (2017-2020) under the European Neighborhood Instrument, through the EU funded Action „Citizens’ Empowerment in the Republic of Moldova” (2019-2021), which is implemented by the German Development Cooperation through GIZ, in coordination with the project „Modernisation of Local Public Services in the Republic of Moldova.”

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EU AND UNDP SUPPORT ALIGNMENT OF CLIMATE AND ENERGY GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION TARGETS Unifying methodologies and using compatible greenhouse gas (GHG) forecasting tools, as well as better coordination between public authorities responsible for energy and climate policies are some of the recommendations of the EU4Climate experts to ensure policy coherence and delivery on international commitments of the Republic of Moldova in the mentioned fields.

Source: https://www.md.undp.org/content/moldova/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2021/pnec-eu4climate-pnud.html

These differences have resulted in the commitment to the UNFCCC, through the second National Determined Contribution, to reduce GHG emissions by 70% unconditionally and by 88% with access to concessional financing and technology transfer, by 2030, compared to the reference year 1990. Viewed from the energy sector perspective, however, they would mean much higher percentage of renewable energy in the energy balance. During the workshop, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development agreed to create institutional dialogue platforms to coordinate the development of

the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), the first version of which will be presented to the Energy Community Secretariat in the first half of 2022. Based on the recommendations of the EU4Climate experts, a joint action plan to align climate and energy targets is to be developed. According to the Determined National Contribution and the Low Emission Development Program by 2030, GHG emissions in the energy sector are to be reduced by 74% by the end of the current decade

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With a total budget of 8.8 million EUR, the EU4Climate Project, funded by the European Union, covering the timeframe 2019-2022, has the following components: (i) updating the Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement; (ii) developing National Low-emission Development Strategies by 2050; (iii) the introduction and strengthening of the framework for the monitoring, reporting and verification of

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greenhouse gas emissions; (iv) alignment with the acquis communautaire in the field of climate; (v) integrating the climate dimension into sectoral policy documents, raising awareness and developing sectoral guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Agreement; (vi) attracting investment in climate change; (vii) better planning for adaptation to climate change.

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EU HIGH LEVEL ADVISER ON ENERGY, ALEXANDRU SĂNDULESCU, AWARDED WITH THE MEDAL CROSS „FOR MERIT” OF THE FIRST DEGREE OF THE NATIONAL AGENCY FOR ENERGY REGULATION (ANRE) During an online ceremony, on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the founding of ANRE and the 30th anniversary of the proclamation of independence of the Republic of Moldova, the ANRE Board of Directors awarded distinctions in appreciation of the level of cooperation between European institutions and the National Energy Regulatory Agency.

The representatives of the Agency underlined the important role of the partners in the process of Republic of Moldova’s implementation of its international commitments in the energy field. Janez Kopač, Director of the Secretariat of the Energy Community, and Dirk Buschle, Deputy Director of the Secretariat of the Energy Community, also received distinctions.

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RESILIENT DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EU4MOLDOVA: STARTUP CITY CAHUL ENCOURAGES YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE REGION TO ENGAGE IN TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP Young people from Cahul took part in the second edition of the technology hackathon organized within the framework of “EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul” - Entrepreneurship Program for Youth. Several programmers, designers, project managers, engineers, teachers, and other professionals worked together for three days to turn ideas into viable businesses. On the first day of the event, the participants of the competition formed working groups, analysed their ideas, and developed an action plan for the development of a potential business. They were accompanied by experts in entrepreneurship, information technology, business development, marketing, design, etc., who advised them on strengthening business ideas. In the end, the participants’ efforts were rewarded with cash prizes as well as outstanding entrepreneurial experience. The event took place on 3-5 September 2021 and brought together more than 30 active young people from the Cahul region. With the help of the EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul, the southern region will become an innovative entrepreneurial community, a leader in society, with events and meetings, educational initiatives, programs for startups, and government agencies that will unite their efforts to ensure the implementation of all activities envisaged by the project.

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DEVELOPMENT OF YOUNG WOMEN BUSINESS SKILLS WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Remote work is becoming the choice of an increasing number of professionals providing services in various fields. This mode of activity is preferred because it provides specialists with the opportunity to work in international companies directly from home, gain experience, and benefit from a motivating salary.

To help girls and women in the regions of the country provide online information technology services on freelance platforms, the National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC) has taken an initiative in this regard. ICT4Women Cahul is a program supported by EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul giving an opportunity for young women from the southern region of the country to take more specialized courses.

Photo: Iana Chifac

One of the beneficiaries of the project, a role model for young women in Cahul, Cantemir, Leova and Taraclia is Iana Chifiac. She took a graphic design course, the training program brought her straight to work, and she managed to get an important project through the international freelance platform - Upwork. In addition, as a freelancer, she has provided a range of design projects to clients from various industries. She currently works as a freelancer, volunteer and continues to take care of her children and family. Most importantly, she is able to perform her duties remotely, without having a fixed schedule and without spending all day in the office.

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HIGH-PERFORMANCE LAPTOPS AND DIPLOMAS OF EXCELLENCE WERE AWARDED TO TEACHERS IN THE SOUTH OF THE COUNTRY

Five teachers from the South (Cahul extended) region were awarded the title of „Teacher Innovator”. The awarded teachers received high-performance laptops and diplomas of excellence, confirming the level of digital knowledge gained through the training programs. Computers were offered to all the teachers who participated to the Tekwill in Every School educational summer program.

The awarding was part of the Gala Tekwill Innovative Teacher organised with the support of the EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul. During the educational program, which took place this summer, teachers from Cahul, Leova, Cantemir, and Taraclia rayons studied one or more of the 6

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subjects taught as part of the program. At the end of the training program, teachers developed complex projects in which they demonstrated their knowledge and skills. Tekwill in Every School has committed to making 90% of high schools nationwide its members by 2024.

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YOUNG PEOPLE IN CAHUL ARE STUDYING TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEURSHIP TO DEVELOP BUSINESS IDEAS

This academic year, the educators of the Cahul State University „Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu” taught Technical Entrepreneurship to young people looking to develop business ideas and stimulate their entrepreneurial spirit. This is done so that the next generation can better prepare for the launch of a startup. The initiative is part of the Startup Academy UNI project, a component of the Startup Moldova program developed under the EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul project implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC) with the financial support from the European Union in

partnership with the Swedish embassy. To prepare future entrepreneurs, educators took part in a professional training program and, under the guidance of mentors experienced in information technology and business, took advantage of the best training methods for business development based on information technology. To develop entrepreneurial skills, students pass a comprehensive training program, where classes are conducted both in groups and individually. The course will be divided into 12 modules, and at the end of the course, young people will present their business ideas on a special Demo Day.

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HARNESSING DIGITAL OPPORTUNITIES TO BUILD BACK BETTER: DIGITAL CONFERENCE FOR THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP TACKLES KEY CHALLENGES FOR THE COMING DECADE More than 450 people attended the first ever Digital Conference for the Eastern Partnership, held virtually on 27 September, including national and EU officials, and other public and private sector stakeholders involved in the digital transformation of the Eastern partner countries. The conference, organised as the opening event in the EU4Digital Steering Committee meeting this week, took place at a time when the pandemic has brought digital technology to the forefront of public attention.

EU4Digital: impact in telecoms, ICT and eCommerce Three prominent EU4Digital experts then highlighted the impact and priorities of the EU4Digital Facility in the key areas of Telecoms infrastructure and regulation, ICT ecosystems, and eCommerce solutions for online trade.

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In this fast-changing environment, Dombrovskis stressed the importance of sustainable competition models and of strong, balanced regulation, mediating between government, service providers and consumers. He identified the next steps in the Eastern partner countries as continued reviewing and strengthening of the regulatory framework, smart investment and market development for sustainable competition,

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promoting user empowerment by enabling usage of digital services, and monitoring broadband developments. One of the most visible effects of the pandemic has been to accelerate the growth in eCommerce, and the EU has now set a target to grow eCommerce between the EU and the Eastern partner countries by 50%. Walter Trezek, senior eTrade expert at the EU4Digital Facility, showed ‘How pilot eCommerce solutions can foster online trade between the EU and EaP’. He explained how EU4Digital had built on its analysis of the eCommerce value chain and challenges – namely lack of harmonisation and lack of awareness – to successfully pilot a ‘digital warehouse’ helping SMEs in the Eastern partner countries to list and sell their products on international eCommerce marketplaces, in a solution that provides a single place for sellers to enter the data needed by marketplaces, customs and delivery businesses for cross-border eCommerce. EDTECH: how to digitally empower 1 million EaP citizens The Conference then opened a panel discussion on ‘EDTECH: how to digitally empower 1 million EaP citizens’. The speakers all highlighted the importance of digital literacy in ensuring competitiveness, and highlighted best practices in the EU, internationally and at corporate level, stressing the importance of public-private partnerships. In Ukraine, Valeriya Ionan highlighted the successful ‘DIIA digital education project’ based on online edutainment series, tackling issues ranging from how to pay online bills or conduct online classes all the way to artificial intelligence. Antoaneta AngelovaKrasteva concluded the discussion by stressing the “need for collaboration between stakeholders and across sectors and borders”, and urging Eastern partners to make best use of the opportunities available under EU programmes.

Make or break “Digital is a make-or-break issue,” concluded Mathieu Bousquet, Head of Unit A3 ‘Thematic Support: An Economy that works for people, green, digital and connected’ at DG NEAR, in his closing remarks at the end of the Conference. “It is a transformative process that offers opportunities to build back better. As in the realm of biodiversity, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”  Taking stock of the results achieved under EU4Digital, he said the activities of the facility were now “reaching a level of maturity and producing tangible results” in the sectors of telecom rules, trust and security, eTrade, ICT innovation, eHealth and eGovernance. But he also stressed the bigger picture, saying these results were building a more sustainable basis for integration by reusing EU solutions and assessing against EU and global benchmarks, developing partnerships with other international organisations, and developing concrete solutions supporting the integration of Eastern partners into EU digital markets, EU value chains and EU economies. Paraphrasing the words of Robert Schuman, he concluded: “I believe that integration into the EU Digital market will not be made all at once, or according to a single plan. It will be built through concrete achievements which first create a de facto solidarity” – something in which EU4Digital has played a vital role. You can watch a recording of the Digital Conference for the Eastern Partnership here.

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EU FUNDED PROJECT “EDINET – INSIGHTS INTO TOMORROW CITIES” BRINGS BEST EXPERIENCES FOR THE MUNICIPALITY’S DEVELOPMENT Between 6 and 10 September 2021, the project „Edinet – insights into tomorrow cities”, funded by the European Union, organised a study visit in Alba Iulia, which is the implementation partner of the project, but also in Piatra-Neamț municipality, Cugir city with which Edineț municipality has established collaboration. The visit was attended by members of the Smart Urban Task Force (SUTF), local councilors, civil servants from Edineț City Hall and the project implementation team. The visit aimed to study the experience of European Union cities in planning and implementing smart urban development in the areas of e-government, urban transport, public lighting, waste management, water supply, collaboration with the private sector and education. The delegation from Edinet municipality met with experts from the mayoralties of the visited cities and public service operators, who shared their experience in attracting EU funds for smart urban modernisation of the municipality - public lighting, streets management, access roads, public transport with ultra-smart waiting stations, electric vehicle charging stations, etc. Environmental protection, management of green areas in a sustainable way, expansion of green areas is among the most important principles applied in the implementation of urban infrastructure modernization projects in Piatra Neamț. The Intercommunity Association „Alba Water Association”, the regional operator for managing the water supply and sanitation system in Alba Iulia County came up with recommendations on what should be the investment priorities for improving the water supply system in Edinet municipality. Smart solutions implemented by Alba Iulia municipality in the field of waste management, urban transport and micro mobility, in educational institutions and energy efficiency were also visited. A masterpiece of Alba Iulia is the Carolina-Alba Fortress, which turns out to be even more beautiful at night, thanks to the intelligent architectural lighting. Here, the street lighting, the pedestrian street lighting and the festive ornamental lighting are well developed. Upon return, all participants completed a questionnaire with proposals for replicating in Edineț city the experience gained.

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PARTNERING TOGETHER FOR THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: DIGITAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND PRIORITIES IN FOCUS FOR THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP

“What is key is to partner together” in the digital transformation, between the regional and bilateral approach, and between international and government partners, as well as the private sector. This was the message from Hoa-Binh Adjemian, Head of Sector, Economic Development and Digital for the Eastern Partnership Countries at the European Commission’s DG NEAR Unit C1, introducing the second day of the EU4Digital Steering Committee, in its session on ‘Eastern Partnership – Current policy agenda and post2020 priorities’, on 28 September.

The session highlighted EU policy priorities on digital, the achievements and next steps for the four projects under the EU4Digital initiative, as well as state of play and future priorities in the six partner countries. Setting out the EU’s digital approach for the Eastern Partnership, Hoa-Binh Adjemian highlighted the targets set under the EU’s Post-2020 Eastern Partnership priorities, including affordable high-speed internet for at least 80% of households, a reduction of roaming prices of at least 80%, the digital empowerment of a million EaP citizens, and improvements to the eGovernance framework.

Lars-Erik Forsberg, Deputy Head of Unit, Policy Outreach and International Affairs at DG CONNECT, shared the EU’s ideas for the digital decade ahead as set out in the Digital Compass, built around the idea of digital citizenship, with the four cardinal points of skills, infrastructure, business and government. He also underlined the importance of collective mobilisation, and said success could only come in synergy between the EU, its member states and private sector.

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EU4Digital achievements and looking ahead With the EU4Digital Facility entering the final months of its activities, its Team Leader Arturas Piliponis, set out the Facility’s achievements in the project’s six thematic areas: ◊ Telecom Rules, including the expected signature of regional roaming and spectrum agreements in December 2021; ◊ Trust and Security, including eSignature pilot, regional roadmap towards cross-border mutual recognition, and new support on eGovernance; ◊ eTrade, including successful pilots on eDelivery, eCustoms and eCommerce; ◊ ICT Innovation, including the design of a new €100-150 million regional EaP DISC Capital fund, support on start-up ecosystems, development of the concept for a regional EdTech hub, and development of women’s mentorship programme; ◊ eHealth, including the development of interoperability guidelines and building of eHealth community; ◊ Digital Skills, including establishment of National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalitions and Digital Competence Framework for SMEs.

Besnik Limay, team leader of the Cybersecurity East project, outlined the project’s achievements in the vital area of cybersecurity, including strengthened national cybersecurity governance and legal frameworks, and support to operational capacities for cyber incidents and crisis management, built around workshops, professional trainings and operational exercises involving cybersecurity authorities in the partner countries. State of play in partner countries

Single Market remained the highest priority for the country – “not only a priority but a catalyst for development” – and highlighted their support for the digitalisation of SMEs and innovative start-ups by developing an enabling environment for innovation. For more information, please access: https://eufordigital.eu/partneringtogether-for-digital-transformation-digitalachievements-and-priorities-in-focus-forthe-eastern-partnership/

The second half of the morning’s session saw presentations on the state of play and future priorities for digital transformation in each the six Eastern partner countries, with interventions from national representatives and the EU Delegations in each country. The representatives from the Republic of Moldova said integration into the EU Digital

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EU CODE WEEK: HUNDREDS OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS HAVE EXPLORED DIGITAL SKILLS Young people from Cahul, Taraclia, Leova and Cantemir rayons (South region of the country) were given the opportunity to explore digital creativity and programming skills during the EU Code Week, a popular initiative held annually with the support of the European Commission to stimulate and promote coding and digital technologies.

The activities were organised as part of EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul implemented by the National Association of ICT Companies (ATIC) with financial support of the European Union and in partnership with Sweden. From 9 to 24 October 2021, 259 students from the South region participated in the EU Code Week interactive activities. Teachers from 12 schools taught primary school children how to develop digital content such as games, stories, animations using the Scratch programming language. High school students were also invited to celebrate EU Code Week and took part in a hackathon, aiming to identify useful solutions for the community obtained through the application of digital skills. During the academic year, the teams will work to develop a viable digital solution for use in the region, led by a team of mentors, IT and environmental specialists to identify a viable digital solution for the environment of the region. The final projects will be presented to a panel of jury next May. Winners will receive awards for the best creative solutions and their hard work.

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For more information, please access: https://startupcitycahul.md/saptamana-ue-a-programarii-sute-de-elevi-din-moldova-si-au-testatcompetentele-digitale/.

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EU4DIGITAL: “BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF EDELIVERY SOLUTION PILOTS”, NEW MOLDOVA – UKRAINE PILOT PROJECT TO BE LAUNCHED IN DECEMBER 2021 Electronic document exchange continues to be a very hot topic both in EU and Eastern partner countries. Countries are exploring opportunities on how to ensure fast & reliable, but at the same time secure & interoperable exchange of data. One of the alternatives – eDelivery solution, has already been tried and tested within the EU4Digital framework. To ensure the continuation of the pilot achievements, EU4Digital experts prepared recommendations on how to enable the use of the solution both on a national as well as cross-border level. The pilot countries, Armenia and Ukraine, are already working on recommendations implementation and solution adoption, while non-pilot Eastern partner countries are exploring possibilities to test out the benefits of eDelivery. The Republic of Moldova (Moldova) was one of the countries that expressed a high willingness and interest to try-out the solution with Ukraine. Therefore, an additional eDelivery pilot between the countries is being initiated. It is foreseen that by the end of 2021 Moldova will become a new member of the global Peppol eDelivery Network, which will allow for the exchange of electronic procurement data with various countries not only in the EU, but also beyond. Ukraine, already a member of the Peppol eDelivery Network for more than a year, will have the opportunity to test how the solution is functioning from the national infrastructure which will facilitate its adoption in the country.

This week marks the initiation of the preparatory actions for the additional eDelivery pilot implementation, which is planned to be launched in December 2021. Throughout the upcoming months, the EU4Digital Facility expert team will be actively working on consulting the pilot countries as well as onboarding selected importing and exporting companies that will participate in the pilot activity. Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming pilot launch, https://eufordigital.eu

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EAPCONNECT LAUNCHES NEW ‘SPECTRUM’ LINK CONNECTING MOLDOVAN AND UKRAINIAN RESEARCH AND EDUCATION COMMUNITIES WITH PAN-EUROPEAN NETWORK A new ‘spectrum’ high-capacity Internet link that is future-proofed to enable the digital future of Moldovan and Ukrainian research and education (R&E) communities was launched on 28 September 2021.

This link achieves strategic goals for the EU4Digital EaPConnect project, strengthens and extends the pan-European GÉANT R&E network, narrows Europe’s digital divide, and supports the European Union’s vision for digital transformation in the Eastern Partnership (EaP). At the launch event, representatives of Moldovan library and Ukrainian particle

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physics communities described how R&E networks and the new ‘spectrum’ link empower their work, providing access to resources and advancing international research collaboration. The event was organised by EaPConnect as part of the EU4Digital third annual Steering Committee week (27 September – 1 October).

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About the network and its ‘spectrum’ capability The new connectivity completes a BucharestChisinau-Kyiv-Poznan half ring and includes the first regional link between two Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. The new Chisinau-Kyiv and Kyiv-Poznan sections have a 100 Gbps (Gigabits per second) capacity, which means a sixfold increase for Ukraine and an elevenfold increase for Moldova, compared to previously existing links. Because this new infrastructure can be used with cutting-edge ‘spectrum’ technology, which enables even greater data flow by transmitting it as multiple wavelengths of light, the new sections could handle around 400 Gbps or more simply by upgrading the transmission modules.

This ‘spectrum’ digital highway is provided locally through the national research and education networks RENAM (Moldova) and URAN (Ukraine) as partners in EaPConnect, which is funded within the EU4Digital initiative. Procured by partners and GÉANT with reduced costs in price/Gbps/Km/year for RENAM and URAN, the new link leaves more resources for supporting the Moldovan and Ukrainian R&E communities. Secured under a 15-year Indefeasible Rights of Use contract unprecedented in EaPConnect, the pricing and technology will remain stable beyond the lifetime of the project. This not only supports EaPConnect objectives to reduce the digital divide and connect EaP R&E sectors with GÉANT, it also contributes to the goal shared with GÉANT and EU4Digital to sustain long-term digital development and the benefits it brings society.

Milestones and ‘firsts’ The new digital highway marks some other significant milestones and first-time achievements for EaPConnect, its partners and their R&E communities, and for the GÉANT backbone network: ◊ The link between Chisinau and Kyiv provides a vital second route for research data to enter/leave Moldova for the first time – bringing the country in line with GÉANT best practices. ◊ For the first time, research data flowing between EU countries could transit through Ukraine or Moldova, elevating the significance of these countries for the GÉANT community and network. ◊ As Ukraine is becoming a gateway for interconnection with Far Eastern and Asian carriers, connectivity via Kyiv is of even greater strategic significance for the future. ◊ The development adds two new GÉANT network PoPs (Points of Presence) in Chisinau and Kyiv and connects them with existing PoPs in Bucharest and Poznan: this creates additional backbone routes out of Poznan and Bucharest and extends the pan-European network. ◊ Integration of Moldova and Ukraine into the GÉANT infrastructure improves the reliability and redundancy of connectivity to/from those countries, reducing data flow risks and strengthening the network. ◊ The development brings Moldova and Ukraine in line with Europe’s most advanced research and education networks, and with improvements across the GÉANT network that are being undertaken in the GN4-3N project. ◊ This new network is the first time that commercially procured spectrum-capable infrastructure is used in the GÉANT network.

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The launch and the benefits EaPConnect organised the event ‘Stronger neighbours, stronger global research & education partners: ‘Spectrum’ digital highways interconnect Moldova, Ukraine and European partners’ to launch and celebrate the new connectivity. Around 70 guests from universities and research institutes, government ministries and research funding authorities, EC Delegations, the EU4Digital initiative and the EC’s DG NEAR took part in this online event. Representing the Moldovan REM (Electronic Resources for Moldova) Library Consortium, which brings together 22 libraries including

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14 university libraries, Mariana Harjevschi, General Director of the B.P. Hasdeu Municipal Library in Chisinau, showed the importance of the new connectivity in realising this community’s mission. Representatives from Ukrainian and Moldovan government ministries and from the EC’s DG NEAR – Directorate General of Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, which funds EaPConnect through the EU4Digital initiative – responded very positively to the launch of the new spectrum network and the value it brings for the digital future for Moldova, Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries.

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“IGNITE CAHUL: IZESTRE”: 9 NOTABLE PERSONALITIES INSPIRED YOUNG PEOPLE AND ENTREPRENEURS IN THE SOUTH OF THE COUNTRY

Several famous personalities from the Cahul region revealed their „dowry” during the most inspiring event of the year - „Ignite Cahul: iZestre”. The event organised in Cahul for the first time in such format, has been hosted at the Palace of Culture „Nicolae Botgros”. The event was specially designed for the community of entrepreneurs and young people with interests for entrepreneurship. The event was attended by 120 young people and entrepreneurs from Cahul, Leova, Giurgiulesti and nearby villages. The topics covered by the speakers included: digital and classic entrepreneurship, the digitalization of Cahul, cybersecurity, the startup ecosystem, as well as the Cahul film festival, folklore and traveling.

IGNITE is an event format organized in more than 100 cities around the world, and in Cahul the “Ignite Cahul: iZestre” was designed and implemented according to the concept. As part of this event, speakers shared their personal and professional hobbies, as well as the challenges that led them to become opinion leaders in their community, exploring their potential and experience to make a positive impact on the society

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“EU4MOLDOVA: STARTUP CITY CAHUL” – AN EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS DISCUSSED BY GUESTS OF “MOLDOVA ICT SUMMIT 2021: THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL”

The European Union is one of the supporters of the digital reform program in the Republic of Moldova, taking a number of actions aimed at promoting the main areas of the digital economy and community.

The aim of the initiative is to help narrowing the gap in the level of information technology between the center and the south of the country, and to promote economic growth through technology and innovation.

Thus, through the initiated programs, the EU contributes to ensuring economic growth, creating more jobs, improving people’s lives and helping the business environment. This was stated by the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Jani Mazeiks, at the most important event of the ICT industry in our country – Moldova ICT Summit. One of the key projects of the European Union, enhancing the potential of the digital economy, business development based on innovations, increasing competitiveness, attractiveness of the ICT workforce, of which at the regional level, is called “EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul”.

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1STANNIVERSARYOFEU4MOLDOVA:STARTUPCITYCAHUL: IT DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESIDENTS OF THE SOUTH REGION OF THE COUNTRY

During the first year of its activity, the project EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul has achieved remarkable results. During this time, 4 STEM subjects were introduced into the school curriculum. More so, 38 schools from the southern region were connected to the subjects of the future, 739 students were part of the IT courses, and 89 girls and boys participated in the entrepreneurship educational program. The training programs organized for the teachers targeting improved digital skills and abilities to teach STEM subjects reached 210 beneficiaries (teachers from the South region). These result confirms

the significant contribution of the project „EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul” to the development of the region, which confirms the strategic importance of the initiative for the south of the country. By 2024, EU4Moldova: Startup City Cahul plans to strengthen the potential of the digital economy, promote an increase in the supply of IT professionals in the region, support the development of entrepreneurship in the south and the emergence of new enterprises operating on the basis of innovation. Thus, all actions are aimed at increasing the competitiveness and attractiveness of the Cahul region.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS. SAVE THE DATE – PLANNED EVENTS CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS. REGIONAL COMPETITION FOR JOURNALISTS, VLOGGERS, AND BLOGGERS IN MOLDOVA AND UKRAINE

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The „EU4Youth - Unlocking the potential of young social entrepreneurs in Moldova and Ukraine” project (in short, the EUnlocking project) has announced a regional contest for journalists, vloggers and bloggers in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. The theme of this competition is “Social entrepreneurship – cooperation beyond borders”.

Do you know interesting social entrepreneur(s) in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine who strengthen cooperation between the two countries and/or with another EU country, as well as brings positive impacts to the society and/or the environment? Help people get to know him/ her/them. Participate in this competition to introduce your heroes to the public and win a cash prize!

What can you submit? ◊ Everything, which is important to be shared with others: you can submit an article, footage, blogpost, podcast, vlog, video, talk-shows or any multimedia content centered on the story of entrepreneurs who collaborate across the two countries and/or with other EU countries to create positive differences for the environment and their communities, especially for the disadvantaged. ◊ Each contestant can submit maximum 2 (two) own works. ◊ Materials (entries) must be originally published/broadcasted/posted between 1 October and 30 November 2021 (local time). ◊ Priority themes are (1) partnerships among social entrepreneurs in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine and/or with other EU country(ies), (2) youth with social entrepreneurship, (3) workplaces for disadvantaged youth/people, (4) ecology and environmental sustainability, and (5) how social entrepreneurship contributes to regional economy (Eastern Europe).

Languages of the entries: Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, English The deadline for submitting applications is 30 November 2021 (local time). For applicants living in Moldova, please submit your materials here. For more information, please access https://euneighbourseast.eu/opportunities/regional-competition-for-journalists-vloggers-andbloggers-in-moldova-and-ukraine/

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This newsletter is produced within the framework of the project “Visibility of EU and EU assistance in 2021 in the Republic of Moldova”. The project is funded by the European Union and implemented by the Particip GmbH. Contact data: The European Union Delegation to the Republic of Moldova: Delegation-Moldova@eeas.europa.eu Editorial team: Svetlana Japalau, Team Leader, Particip GmbH svetlana.japalau@particip.com Natalia Ionel, Key Expert, Particip GmbH natalia.ionel@particip.com The content of this publication is the exclusive responsibility of Particip GmbH and the editorial team, and it does not in any way reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

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